Standard Chlorine of Delaware, Inc
New Castle, DE 19720
Congressional District: 1st
Other Names:Metachem Products, LLC
Last Updated: February 2013
The EPA is dedicated to providing you with timely and accurate information about our work at this site. If you have any questions or concerns, please contact: Trish Taylor 215-814-5539
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Cleanup work at this site was partially funded by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA). EPA used nearly $2.7 million to remove the remaining 800 containers of bulk liquid chemicals and to upgrade the groundwater treatment system. Doing this work in 2009 and 2010 will reduce future years' funding needs and improve the quality of the groundwater at the site. The groundwater treatment system has been operating since June 2007 and was upgraded in 2010 using ARRA funds so that it can treat more water than before. Disposal of the remaining 800 containers of bulk liquid chemicals was completed in August 2009 using ARRA funds, almost three years ahead of schedule. Several jobs were created through the use of ARRA funds at the Site.
- Since 2007, the EPA has been operating an interim cleanup system to treat contaminated groundwater at Standard Chlorine. This interim groundwater remedy was enhanced through the use of $1.15 million in federal stimulus funds made available through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA). This work created jobs estimated at more than 4 FTE (Full-Time Equivalents), as reported by the recipients of the ARRA funds. ARRA construction commenced on this project in September 2009 and was completed in December 2010.
- The system includes a subsurface (underground) barrier wall around the site, and a pump and treat system that pumps the contaminated groundwater out from within the wall and treats it to remove the contaminants. The treated water, which meets state standards, is discharged to the surface and flows overland into Red Lion Creek.
- EPA is studying groundwater at the site in preparation for a future final remedy for groundwater.
- This disposal was originally projected for completion in 2012, however the pace of disposal was accelerated through the use of $1.522 million in federal stimulus funds (ARRA funds). This work created jobs estimated at 0.20 FTE, as reported by the recipients of the ARRA funds. ARRA construction commenced in May 2009 and was completed in July 2009.
- A 2004 amendment to the original cleanup decision document, the Record of Decision, allowed for off-site incineration of the 1.3 million gallons of bulk liquid chemicals on site. Since 2006, the bulk liquid chemicals have been taken off site in containers and incinerated. Incineration was completed in 2009 using Recovery Act funds.
Structures, Waste, and Plant Area Soils
- By 2006, EPA’s Removal Program had dismantled the majority of the facility’s buildings, structures, tanks and equipment and recycled or disposed of them properly. The last remaining distillation columns were dismantled for recycling in spring 2009. Chemical wastes were also disposed of properly by EPA.
- In September 2010, EPA selected capping as the remedy for the soils in the former plant area. EPA finalized the remedial design in June 2012. The remedial design specifies a multi-layer geotextile and soil cap in the former plant area, along with a soil gas collection and treatment system. The final cover will be vegetated. EPA is currently awaiting funding to begin the remedial action.
- In December 2012, EPA completed the dismantlement of the warehouse to make way for the future cap that is part of the remedy for the former plant area. EPA salvaged as much of the steel building as possible and in doing so was able to recycle over 550,000 pounds of steel. Money generated from salvaging the steel was used to help offset a portion of the costs for the project.
Soil and Sediments
- EPA took over the cleanup in 2002, after Metachem declared bankruptcy. By 2004, the agency discovered that the volume of soil and sediments needing cleanup is four times the original estimate in the ROD.
- EPA determined that the cleanup method for contaminated soils and sediments selected in the ROD, bioremediation (using bacteria to break down the contaminants), did not appear feasible at that time.
- The agency is in the process of testing other cleanup methods to address the contaminated soil and sediments.
- The Standard Chlorine of Delaware, Inc. Superfund Site (also known as Metachem) is three miles northwest of Delaware City. It is approximately 65 acres in size, and is west of River Road (Route 9) near the south bank of Red Lion Creek.
- The plant was built in 1965 on what was then farmland. The area is now quite industrialized with many other companies located nearby, such as the Delaware City Refinery, Stauffer Chemical, the former Occidental Chemical property, and the former Air Products and Chemicals property, to name a few.
- Standard Chlorine sold the plant to Metachem Products, L.L.C. in 1998, but in 2002, Metachem abruptly closed and abandoned the plant and declared bankruptcy.
- Standard Chlorine of Delaware, later Metachem, manufactured chlorinated benzene compounds from 1966 to 2002.
The site was listed on EPA's National Priorities List of most hazardous waste sites in 1987, due to a 1981 chlorobenzene chemical spill, which occurred when workers were filling a railroad tanker car.
An additional spill occurred in 1986, when 569,000 gallons of various volatile organic compounds spilled, damaging some nearby tanks, causing the latter tanks to partially spill.
Chlorobenzenes from the spill have been found in groundwater, soil, creek sediments, surface water, and nearby wetlands.
- A fish consumption advisory is in effect for the Red Lion Creek for PCBs and dioxin.
NPL Listing History
|Status: Final||Added: 1987|
- The Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control (DNREC) and Standard Chlorine took the following emergency measures after the 1986 spill: 1) built a filter fence along the mouth of the wetland coves; 2) recovered some of the material that had flowed off site; 3) constructed a dike to isolate contaminants; and 4) excavated contaminated soils and sediments; 5) constructed a lined pond to store dredged materials.
- In 1988 Standard Chlorine signed a consent order with DNREC to take short-term cleanup measures and investigate the site to determine the effect of the spills on groundwater, soil and wetlands.
- EPA issued a Record of Decision (ROD) in 1995 which detailed cleanup methods to address the site.
- The 1995 ROD included an interim cleanup method for the groundwater which is now ongoing as part of Operable Unit 1 (OU1), and final cleanup methods for the soil and sediments from the spills as part of Operable Unit 2 (OU2).
- The 1995 ROD called for bioremediation treatment (use of bacteria to break down the chemicals) of the soil and sediments, but later studies showed that bioremediation did not appear feasible at that time.
- The EPA took over the cleanup in 2002, after Metachem declared bankruptcy.
- The EPA discovered that there was four times more contaminated soil and sediments than originally accounted for in the 1995 ROD.
- The Agency is in the process of studying various disposal/treatment methods for addressing the contaminated soil and sediments in OU2.
- EPA issued a ROD for the soils and soil gas in the former plant area, referred to as Operable Unit three (OU3), in September 2010. The selected remedy is capping of the contaminated soils, along with a soil gas collection and treatment system. EPA recently finalized the Remedial Design for this remedy.
- EPA is continuing to study groundwater contamination at the site and plans to issue another ROD in the future that will select a final remedy for groundwater.
- EPA completed its first Five-Year Review of the Site in July 2011. In its review, EPA found the remedy for Operable Unit 1 to be protective of human health and the environment in the short term. EPA determined the remedies for Operable Units 2, 3, and 4 will be protective of human health and the environment upon their completion, and in the interim exposure pathways are being controlled. The entire report can be viewed by following a link provided on this web page.
- Chlorobenzenes from spilled material have been found in the ground water, soil, sediments, and surface water. People may be exposed to the chemicals by direct contact with contaminated soil or accidentally ingesting contaminated soil or water. Wetlands near the site are impacted by contamination that emanated from the spill areas. The levels of contamination in the soils, surface water, and sediment may impact the quality of the wildlife and the ecosystems along Red Lion Creek. Chlorobenzenes have been found in tissue of fish obtained from Red Lion Creek.
- Contaminant descriptions and risk factors are available from the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry, an arm of the CDC.
- To search an on-line database of all documents and reports on the Standard Chlorine of Delaware, Inc site, go to EPA’s Administrative Record Database.
- All documents and reports can also be reviewed in person at these locations:
DE Dept. of Natural Resources & Environmental Control
Site Information and Restoration Branch
391 Lukens Drive
New Castle, DE 19720-2774
U.S. EPA Region III
1650 Arch Street-6th Floor
Philadelphia, PA 19103
Call for an appointment.
- Some of the site’s key documents of interest are accessible below.
Five Year Review(PDF) (58 pp, 20.9MB)
USGS Potomac Aquifer Study
Record of Decision ("ROD")
- Amendment No. 1 to ROD (PDF) (26 pages, 4.98Mb)
OU3 Feasibility Study Report (PDF) (244 pp, 12MB)
OU3 Proposed Plan -- February 2010 (PDF) (24 pp, 394K)
OU3 Record of Decision (PDF) ( 119pp, 2.39MB)
- September 2005 Final Report (PDF) (113 pp, 325K)
(Note: Appendices A-N are not available online. Contact Hilary Thornton (215-814-3323) if you are interested in getting copies of the appendices.)
Work Plan for Remedial Investigation/Feasibility Study
- Amendment No. 1 to ROD (PDF) (26 pages, 4.98Mb)
- Submit a FOIA Request
Get instructions on how to submit a FOIA request. $Fee$ for requests over 100 pages.
(Click on a thumbnail to enlarge the photo)
- Site Progress Profile — a quick reference sheet, linking to EPA's Headquarters.
- Fact Sheets
October 2012 (PDF) (4 pp, 169K)
May 2010 (PDF) (4 pp, 230k)
July 2009 (PDF) (4 pp, 139k)
September 2007(PDF) (4 pp, 351K)
September 2006 (PDF) (4 pp, 279K)
September 2005 (PDF) (4 pp, 687K)
December 2004 (PDF) (4 pp, 694K)
April 2004 (PDF) (4 pp, 192K)
January 2004 (PDF) (2 pp, 149K)
- No reuse of this site is planned at this time.
- Want more information about how to reuse a Superfund site?