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Hazardous Waste Cleanup: Thiokol Specialty Chemical Division (Also Known As: NewChem Incorporated) in Newell, West Virginia

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The Site was listed on the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Information System (CERCLIS) in February 1983 following Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) inspections that revealed numerous waste handling violations. The West Virginia Department of Natural Resources (WVDNR) performed a Preliminary Assessment (PA) in 1984 following remedial activities performed by Morton Thiokol, Inc. as part of a 1982 closure plan. The PA recommendations included further investigation of the groundwater, surface water, and soil pathways, as well as the potential migration of contamination to offsite properties. RCRA violations continued under new ownership by Newell Specialty Chemicals (NSC) from 1984 through 1997 resulting in the indictment of two senior managers on charges of fraud and illegally transporting and disposing of hazardous waste. NewChem, Inc. (NewChem) purchased the facility in 1997 as part of a bankruptcy agreement. NewChem assumed all environmental liability for the Site and removed all drummed waste that remained from NSC’s activities.

Cleanup Status

Site investigation activities were conducted at the site from May 1 through May 4, 2006. During the sampling event, 26 soil/sediment and 25 surface water/groundwater samples were collected. Low levels of organic and inorganic contaminants were identified in various media on-site and off-site. Additional sampling of selected monitoring wells was conducted during December 2009. The results of that sampling event revealed some low level volatile organic contamination in a couple of wells. Based on the results of the 2006 and 2009 investigations a remedy solution consisting of the in-situ treatment of impacted wells and groundwater monitoring until acceptable water quality standards are attained has been selected. The consultant for the NewChem facility submitted a Remedial Implementation Plan to EPA on March 1, 2013.

On August 25, 2011, EPA issued a Statement of Basis (SB) in which it explained the information gathered during environmental investigations at the Facility, and in which it described the Proposed Final Remedy for the Facility which included Institutional Controls. Since no comments were received during the public comment period, this became the Corrective Action Final Decision was made on November 11, 2011.

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Site Description

Interactive Map of Thiokol Specialty Chemical Division, Newell, West Virginia

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The facility is now operated by NewChem, a subsidiary of Deltech Resins Company. NewChem performs custom organic chemical manufacturing, solvent recovery and drying, as well as production of powder biocides. The primary site features are as the follows:

  • Laboratory and service building 
  • Warehouse 
  • A 13,400 square-foot clean water storage reservoir 
  • Process buildings 
  • Two bulk storage tank farms encompassing approximately 20 above-ground storage tanks (ASTs) 
  • Support building; including shop, compressor room, and boiler room 
  • Hazardous waste drum storage pad

The Site is 13.71 acres, approximately six acres of which are the manufacturing portion of the facility. The remainder of the Site is wooded. The manufacturing portion of the facility consists of a production area that is gated and fenced and a drum storage area located west of the production area, also gated and fenced. The Site is relatively flat with a steep hillside at the western edge of the property that leads down to a former gravel quarry and ponds remaining from quarrying operations; beyond is the Ohio River located approximately a half mile from the Site. Access to the Site is via State Route two.

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Contaminants at this Facility

The main contaminant is trichloroethene (TCE) in groundwater.

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Institutional and Engineering Controls at this Facility

  1. Restriction on the use of groundwater beneath the Facility for potable purposes or any other use that could result in human exposure, unless such use is required by the Final Remedy;
  2. Restriction on well drilling at the Facility without prior EPA approval, to prevent inadvertent exposure to the contaminated groundwater and adverse affects to the Final Remedy; and
  3. A restriction that the Facility not be used for any purpose other than industrial unless it is demonstrated to EPA that another use will not pose a threat to human health or the environment and EPA provides prior written approval for such use.

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Land Reuse Information at this Facility

The facility is in continued use.

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Site Responsibility at this Facility

RCRA Corrective Action activities at this facility have been conducted under the direction of EPA Region 3 with assistance from the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection.

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