$968,000 soil contamination clean up effort planned by the EPA

January 12, 2015

Last week, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced plans for a public meeting to address a $968,000 soil contamination cleanup effort in the Benfield Industries, Inc. Superfund Site in Waynesville, North Carolina.

The site includes the area where Benfield Industries mixed and packaged bulk materials for resale from 1971 until 1983. The meeting will be held on January 13, 2015, at the Haywood Vocational Opportunities Building in Waynesville, and will center around future clean up efforts.

The Benfield site's soil contamination has led to poor groundwater conditions since the site's original cleanup was completed in 2001. Creosote and associated contaminants have been detected, registering at levels far above the EPA's Maximum Contaminant Levels for consumable water. Although the area's groundwater is not currently in use, it is considered a potable source for drinking. The contamination, therefore, poses great risk for the community at hand.

The EPA is proposing a two-step cleanup plan for the Benfield site, combining hydrogen peroxide and various native microorganisms to stimulate clean up. Following treatment, the groundwater contaminants should be converted into harmless end products. The EPA estimates the cleanup will take two to three years, after three months of construction are completed. The entire project should cost about $1 million.

From 1976 to 1983 the 3.5 acre Benfield Industries, Inc. Superfund Site was used industrially for bulk chemical storage, packaging, and resale. Spills are thought to have occurred during this time. Benfield was forced to cease operations in 1982, when a fire destroyed the facility, but the EPA did not place the site on their National Priorities List until 1989. 

Environmental consultants can help chemical packaging facilities like the Benfield Industries, Inc. Superfund Site develop strategies to comply with federal and state rules, while remaining a productive business.