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Hazardous Waste Cleanup: Union Carbide Corporation - Institute Operations (Formerly: Bayer Cropscience LP) in Institute, West Virginia

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Cleanup Status

EPA Region 3 initiated RCRA CA permitting actions around November 1984 to identify and remediate onsite Solid Waste Management Units (SWMUs).  EPA issued the Federal CA Permit in December 1990, effective January 22, 1991 to January 21, 2001, that was subsequently extended.  The Permit initially identified 18 SWMUs requiring investigation, characterization and potentially, remediation.  Subsequently, five additional SWMUs were identified by UCC and included as part of a Verification Investigation (VI).  Multiple investigations and interim remedial measures (IMs) have been completed and documented through reports submitted to the EPA and the West Virginia Department of the Environment (WVDEP).

Sampling results from the 23 SWMUs identified in the VI demonstrated that the majority of the SWMUs contained constituents in soil and groundwater in concentrations generally less than EPA’s existing or proposed action levels at that time.  Six SWMUs were determined to need additional investigation.  Those six SWMUs are located in the two general production areas at the Facility: (1) the methyl carbamate (MCB) and SEVIN® Manufacturing Area (SEVIN Area) (SWMUs 1, 7, 20, and 21) and (2) the ethylidene norbornene (ENB) manufacturing unit (SWMUs 18 and 22).

The highest dissolved groundwater concentrations generally occur adjacent to source areas associated with historical chemical process activities.  However, concentrations requiring active groundwater remedies occur in a just a few areas at the Facility.  Accordingly, IMs have been conducted at several source areas to address elevated groundwater concentrations, including the Former Fluorocarbon Area (currently referred to as CMS Area A) for chloroform, carbon tetrachloride, tetrachloroethene (PCE), and trichlorofluoromethane, and the HPH and Tank 1010 areas in CMS Area B for benzene.  IMs have also been implemented at SWMU 1, SWMU 2/6, SWMU 11, and SWMU 7.

On July 13, 2018, EPA issued a Statement of Basis (SB) in which it described the information gathered during the environmental investigations and proposed a Final Remedy for the Facility.  EPA solicited public comment on its proposed Final Remedy.  A forty-five (45) day comment period ended on August 26, 2018; however, a request was made and granted to extend the public comment period until September 26, 2018.  Comments were received and addressed in a Final Remedy and Response to Comments document (October 24, 2018).  EPA determined that modifications to the proposed Final Remedy were unnecessary, therefore the Final Remedy consists of: (1) soil capping; (2) fencing and signage (3) land use restrictions preventing residential use and sitewide groundwater use; (4) operation and maintenance requirements of an ongoing groundwater remedy; and (5) a monitoring program for groundwater.

WVDEP will issue a RCRA Corrective Action Permit to require implementation of the Final Remedy.  UCC will be required to submit to WVDEP, for approval, a Corrective Measures Implementation (CMI) Plan for implementation of the corrective measures selected in the Final Remedy.  Once WVDEP approves the CMI Plan it will be incorporated into and become enforceable under the State CA Permit.

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Site Description

Interactive Map of Union Carbide Corporation – Institute Operations, Institute, West Virginia

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Located in Institute, West Virginia along the Kanawha River, the Facility encompasses approximately 433 acres.  The main chemical plant began operations in 1943 as a synthetic rubber production plant during World War II and was owned by the federal government.  UCC purchased and operated the Facility from 1947 to 1986.  Rhone-Poulenc purchased the Facility in 1986 and became Aventis Crop Science in January 2000 and, subsequently, Bayer Crop Science in June 2002.  The Facility was repurchased by UCC in 2015.  The main chemical plant historically produced various hydrocarbon and agricultural products.  UCC operations include the production of Acetone Derivatives, EO Catalyst, Glutaraldehyde, and Polyox.  Various intermediary and final chemical products are also produced and/or stored at the Facility.

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Contaminants at this Facility

The main contaminants in the groundwater and soil are benzene, chlorobenzene, chloroform, carbon tetrachloride, and tetrachloroethene.

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Institutional and Engineering Controls at this Facility

Because Contaminants of Concern remain in the groundwater at the Facility above drinking water standards and in the soils above levels appropriate for residential use, EPA’s remedy requires land and groundwater use restrictions for activities that may result in exposure to those contaminants. 

Restrictions to be implemented include residential use, access, groundwater use, vapor intrusion controls in specific areas, and earth moving and land disturbance restrictions in specific areas. EPA proposed that the above land and groundwater use restrictions be implemented through the State CA Permit and/or an Environmental Covenant pursuant to the West Virginia Environmental Covenant Act (West Virginia Code Chapter 22 § 22.B et. seq.).

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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 are being conducted under the direction of the EPA Region 3 with assistance from the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection (WVDEP).

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