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Hazardous Waste Cleanup: Vernay Laboratories Inc. Facility - Yellow Springs, OH

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 EPA Information Session 

U.S. EPA held an information session on Thursday, Oct. 24, 2019.

 EPA representatives presented "Proposed Clean Up Options for Vernay Laboratories Inc." The proposed remedies under review by EPA are expected to address:

  • source areas,
  • preferential pathways, and
  • groundwater contamination.

EPA provided an update and explained the next steps of the project, which was followed by a question and answer session from the community. Approximately 100 people attended the meeting. EPA is planning a follow-up meeting to discuss EPA proposed remedies for Vernay in early 2020.

Read Cleanup Status for additional information.

Congress amended the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) in November 1984, expanding the Act's cleanup provisions and prompting EPA and its state partners to develop the RCRA Corrective Action Program. The program oversees the investigation and cleanup of nearly 4,000 hazardous waste sites across the country, including many with risks comparable to Superfund sites.

Vernay Laboratories Inc. owns a 10-acre facility at 875 Dayton Street in Yellow Springs, Ohio. The facility manufactured specialty rubber components for the automotive, appliance, and medical industries from the early 1950s through 2005. The site previously contained two rubber manufacturing buildings, a storage building, asphalt driveways, and parking lots on the property. These structures were demolished in early 2009.

Vernay has been testing the water underground (called ground water) at the facility and in the surrounding area since 1998 via a network of monitoring wells. Results have shown that ground water contaminated with volatile organic compounds (chemicals that evaporate in air easily such as solvents) has flowed underneath Vernay’s eastern property boundary. In addition, samples collected from storm sewers at the facility and sediments (creek mud) and water from a creek northeast of the facility contain low levels of these chemicals. Testing also revealed that soil next to and beneath structures at the facility contains volatile organic compounds.

In 2001, EPA conducted a study and identified possible “source” areas – areas that could have leaked chemicals into ground or surface water. These areas include sewer lines, floor drains, drum storage areas, dust suppression and weed control areas, loading docks, a storm water catch basin, a septic system and hydraulic oil trench, a fill area, and vapor degreasers. Some of these source areas no longer are on the property.

In September 2002, Vernay and EPA signed a legal order called an administrative order on consent. In this order, Vernay agreed to conduct a study to determine the type of contaminants involved, and the extent of contamination. The company also agreed to clean up contamination and take actions to keep contaminated ground water from flowing into unpolluted areas away from the site. EPA refers to the study and cleanup as “corrective action.” EPA will oversee and approve the work.

    Cleanup Status

    Vernay has installed a Ground Water Capture Treatment System to pump water from underneath the ground and remove chemicals using activated carbon as an interim clean up method. The cleaned water is then discharged to sanitary sewers under permit. This “pump and treat” system works to slow the movement of contaminated ground water. As of July 2019, over 200,000,000 gallons of groundwater have been removed and treated by this system.

    In June 2015, EPA requested that Vernay compete a soil vapor investigation of the property and surrounding off-site properties in accordance with the 2015 Technical Guide for Assessing and Mitigating the Vapor Intrusion Pathway from Subsurface Vapor Sources to Indoor Air document. The vapor intrusion investigation began in February 2016 and continued until April 2018. The study did not find evidence of harmful gases moving into buildings during the sampling events.

    EPA has received a proposed cleanup plan from Vernay the site. The proposed cleanup actions are contained in a document called a “Corrective Measures Proposal.” The proposed cleanup remedies are currently under review by EPA and are expected to address pollution source areas and pathways, and groundwater contamination associated with the facility.

    Vernay has proposed a combination of several cleanup strategies in the Corrective Measures Proposal. The proposed cleanup steps include continuing operation of the in-place groundwater treatment system, removing contaminated soil from the site, and rerouting portions of the storm sewer on its property to reduce pathways that could allow the contamination to travel.

    EPA is reviewing the proposed remedies and will approve or modify the document based on the capabilities of the proposed actions to clean up or control exposure to the contamination associated with the site. Once the Corrective Measures Proposal is approved, EPA will draft a Statement of Basis that provides the cleanup recommendations and will solicit formal comments from the community. It is anticipated the formal public comment period will begin in early 2020. The Corrective Measures Proposal is available for public viewing at the Yellow Springs Community Library.

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    Site Description

    Yellow Springs is located in the north-central portion of Greene County (Miami Township), which is located in the southwestern portion of Ohio. The site is located in a mixed industrial, commercial, and residential area.

    The site is bounded to the north by Dayton Street. Beyond Dayton Street lies DMS Ink and Brick Forge as well as residential properties, followed by agricultural land. The site is bounded by the west by East Enon Road. Beyond East Enon Road lies residential and agricultural lands, as well as Yellow Springs High School. Antioch University Midwest lies to the northwest of the site. Residential properties border the site to the east and along the south. A commercial property owned by Soundspace is located along Dayton Street and is bounded on three sides by Vernay.      

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    Contaminants at this Facility

    Vernay conducted investigations to determine the extent of contamination at the facility resulting from historic spills and waste disposal. The contamination detected in soil, sewers, and groundwater consists of mainly:

    • Tetrachloroethene (PCE)
    • Trichloroethene (TCE)
    • Cis-1,2-dichloroethene (cis-DCE)
    • 1,2-Dichloropropane (1,2-DCP)
    • 1,1,2-Trichloro-1,2,2-triflouroethane (Freon-113)

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    Institutional and Engineering Controls at this Facility

    As an interim measure, Vernay has installed a Groundwater Capture Treatment System.  The system consists of four extraction wells where water is pumped from underneath the ground and contamination is removed by an activated carbon filter. The treated water is released to sanitary sewers under a discharge permit.

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    Land Reuse Information at this Facility


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    Site Responsiblity at this Facility

    EPA Region 5 oversees and approves work related to the site cleanup activities.

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    Contacts for this Cleanup

    EPA’s table of contacts for RCRA Corrective Action sites to find project manager contact information and storage locations for paper records related to this site.

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