This Industry Profile Fact Sheet is presented by the EPA Region 3 to assist state, local, and municipal agencies, and private groups in the initial planning and evaluation of sites being considered for remediation, redevelopment or reuse. It is intended to provide a general description of site conditions and contaminants which may be encountered at specific industrial facilities. This fact sheet is presented for informational purposes only, and should not be construed as a federal policy or directive.
INDUSTRY, PROCESS, OR SITE DESCRIPTION
Pesticides include insecticides, herbicides, fungicides and all other chemicals used to control insects, weeds and other pests from disturbing grown or stored materials. There are three ways of applying pesticides: spraying (utilizing oil and/or water), dusting (spreading dry powder) and fumigating (releasing a gas). A wide variety of materials, almost all of which are hazardous to humans, are used in pesticide production. Contamination can be found at abandoned manufacturing facilities, bulk storage locations, and end-user sites such as farms, golf courses, and orchards. This industry typically combines a series of separate compounds in a process line and incorporates them into a final product for distribution and sale. The materials are often brought into the facility in large quantities (tank truck or rail car) and stored in tanks until they are used in the process. Final products are also stored in large quantities for shipment to suppliers or end users.
CHARACTERISTIC RAW MATERIALS
Compounds typically found at a pesticide facility include the following:
- Ammonia (g)
- Benzene (l/g)
- Carbon Tetrachloride (g)
- Hydrogen Cyanide (g)
- Mercury (L)
- Nitric Acid (g/l)
- Phosgene (g)
- Sulfuric Acid (L)
- Xylene (L)
(L) - liquid (s) - solid (g) - gas
WASTE STREAMS AND POTENTIALLY AFFECTED ENVIRONMENTAL MEDIA
On-site waste piles, lagoons and waste pits were common treatment/storage techniques prior to the promulgation and enforcement of the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act of 1976 (RCRA). Waste products are often containerized on site in medium to large quantities for recycling into the process or disposal. Common waste products encountered at Superfund assessment and remediation projects include waste cyanide, heavy metals, corrosive liquids and sludges, unused raw materials listed above, and discarded finished product. These materials may be found in soils, sediments, and surface and/or groundwater. They may also pose an inhalation hazard under certain conditions.
Additionally, contaminated buildings and the associated demolition debris may be encountered at abandoned or inactive sites. Decontamination and wipe testing of this material may be required prior to off-site landfill disposal.
All raw materials encountered on site should be visually identified and confirmed using immuno-assay, qualitative indicators, or wet chemistry field screening techniques. It should be noted that many of the raw materials containing corrosive and poisonous compounds may represent a significant direct contact and/or inhalation hazard to assessment personnel. Visually identified contaminated areas, waste piles and lagoons should be characterized by collecting several samples for laboratory analysis. Surface and subsurface soil sampling should be performed from the suspected contaminated areas outward to the suspected clean areas. Once the primary contaminated areas are established, grid or random sampling may be performed to confirm the suspected clean areas. The application of non-intrusive subsurface geophysics should be evaluated to detect underground burial pits, process lines and chemical storage tanks.
On-site and local wells may be sampled if groundwater is an environmental concern. Installation of monitoring wells or other groundwater sampling techniques should be evaluated if it is necessary to fill data gaps.
SUGGESTED ANALYTICAL PARAMETERS
Heavy Metals Analysis:
- Chromium (hexavalent /total)
Priority Pollutant Organics Analysis (volatiles, semivolatiles, and pesticide/PCBs)