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Superfund Innovative Technology Evaluation (SITE)


Note: EPA no longer updates this information, but it may be useful as a reference or resource.


Demonstration of a Trial Excavation at the McColl Superfund Site
October 1992

In June 1990, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's Region IX Superfund Program, in cooperation with EPA's Air and Energy Engineering Research Laboratory (AEERL), and EPA's Superfund Innovative Technology Evaluation (SITE) Program performed a trial excavation of approximately 137 cubic yards of waste at the McColl Superfund Site in Fullerton, California. The purpose of this work was threefold: 1) to determine if the waste could be excavated by use of conventional equipment, 2) to decide if any treatment was necessary to improve the waste's handling characteristics, and 3) to determine the magnitude of air emissions that could result from excavation efforts. This information will be useful in the planning of a full-scale remediation of the highly acidic petroleum refinery waste buried at the site. The trial excavation was conducted within a temporary enclosure from which air was exhausted through a sodium-hydroxide-based wet scrubber and activated-carbon-bed adsorber to reduce air emissions of sulfur dioxide and volatile organic compounds. Vapor-suppressing foam was used in an attempt to suppress atmospheric releases from the raw waste during excavation, storage, and processing. The air exhaust was monitored for total hydrocarbons and sulfur dioxide before and after the air emission control system. In addition, total hydrocarbons and sulfur dioxide were monitored along the site perimeter to determine the potential impact of air emissions on the nearby community.

The McColl waste consists of mud, tar. and char. Excavation was conducted with a trackhoe, and the waste was separated into stockpiles of mud, tar, and char for subsequent study and experimentation. Upon completion of the work, the majority of the waste was placed back into the excavation pit and covered with topsoil. Excess waste materials was stockpiled on-site in a controlled manner.

This Application Analysis Report presents an evaluation of the equipment used to control emissions and to measure the resulting emissions before and after the air control system. An assessment of the foam vapor suppressants and information on the full-scale remediation costs of the technology are also provided. The information contained in this report will assist in planning the fullscale remediation of the McColl site and other similar waste sites throughout the country.

Risk Mangement Research | Air and Climate Change Research | Water Research | Ecosystems Restoration Research | Land Risk Management Research | Technology: Sustainable Technologies Research, Environmental Technology Verification Program (ETV), and Technology Assessments

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