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Hazardous Waste Cleanup: TRC Spent Cathode Storage Pile (Formerly: Kaiser Aluminum) in Ravenswood, West Virginia

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An Administrative Order on Consent requiring investigation of the site was signed by EPA and the owner (Kaiser) on April 3, 1995.

Cleanup Status

In compliance with the Administrative Order on Consent, the following activities have been completed:

  • A Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) Facility Investigation (RFI) was performed to evaluate the impact of the site on surrounding soils and groundwater. The RFI was completed on March 10, 1997.
  • A Part I Corrective Measures Study (CMS) was completed on January 22, 1998, and identified the need for testing of the facility cover.
  • A Part II CMS involved field and laboratory testing of the cover material. The draft CMS Report was submitted to EPA on May 28, 1998.

The draft CMS Report concluded that the most effective option for elimination of risk due to the facility was leaving the material in its present location, performing initial repairs to the seams in the cover, and then continuing to maintain the cover, replacing as necessary.

In 2004, Kaiser divested itself of the The Spent Potliner (SPL) Pile as part of bankruptcy proceedings. At that time, TRC Environmental Corporation took ownership of the Spent Potliner Pile.

EPA concurred with the recommended remedy in the CMS Report, and on August 25, 2011 the proposed remedy was put out for public comment. No comments were received during the 30 day public comment period and a Final Decision and Response To Comments (FDRTC) was issued to TRC on November 8, 2011.

EPA and TRC both signed an 7003 Consent Order in August 2012. The Consent Order is the authority EPA uses to enforce the selected remedy with TRC.

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Site Description

Interactive Map of TRC Spent Cathode Storage Pile, Ravenswood, West VIrginia

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The Spent Potliner (SPL) Pile is a 2.7-acre, encapsulated deposit of aluminum-smelting wastes located southwest of Ravenswood, West Virginia. The site is completely surrounded by an active aluminum smelting facility (Century Aluminum). The SPL Pile was originally part of an integrated aluminum manufacturing facility which began operation in 1957 by Kaiser Aluminum. Between 1972 and 1980, spent potliner from the smelting process was stockpiled on concrete and clay pads, awaiting shipment for mineral recycling. An EPDM cover was installed in 1981 to isolate the material from the environment and to prevent contact with rainwater. The site is completely enclosed by a chain-link fence and is located wholly within an active industrial facility.

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Contaminants at this Facility

SPL was designated by USEPA as a listed hazardous waste under RCRA in 1988. The main contaminants in soil and groundwater are cyanide and fluoride.

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Institutional and Engineering Controls at this Facility

  1. A restriction on the use of groundwater beneath the SPL Facility for potable purposes or any other use that could result in human exposure, unless such use is required by the Final Remedy or until groundwater is restored to drinking water standards
  2. A restriction on well drilling at the SPL Facility without prior written EPA approval, to prevent inadvertent exposure to the contaminated groundwater and adverse affects to the Final Remedy
  3. A restriction that the SPL 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
  4. A restriction that earth moving activities, including drilling, and construction activities are prohibited on the SPL Facility unless it is demonstrated to EPA that such activity use will not pose a threat to human health or the environment and EPA provides prior written approval for such activity
  5. Quarterly Inspections of the liner to ensure liner integrity and repair of any field seams and patches

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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 (WVDEP).

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