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Nelson Electric Company

EPA Region 3 (Mid-Atlantic)


EPA ID# VAD003115706

3rd Congressional District

Last Update: May 2004
No Future Updates

Other Names


Current Site Status

Nelson Electric has eliminated any stored transformers that contained PCB or PCB residue in the transformer. They continue to maintain a ditch that surrounds the property to collect runoff from the Site. The ditch is lined with plastic which stops infiltration of the runoff. An inspection performed in 1994 and several informal inspections since have confirmed that the ditch, storage yard and the surrounding property is being maintained to prevent off-site contamination.

Site Description

Nelson Electrical Company, Inc. is located at 1010 Holly Spring Avenue, Richmond, Virginia, in a mixed industrial and residential neighborhood. The Site consists of a single building in which electrical transformers are serviced and repaired. The Site also contains a fenced in storage yard where electrical transformers are presently being stored. The Site is bordered by transport companies to the south and east and Holly Spring Road on the west. To the north of the Site is an auto parts distributor and junk yard. Private residences are located across Holly Spring Avenue to the northeast of the Site. The Site is unsecured on two (2) sides allowing for unrestricted access to the facility.

Nelson Electric services, repairs and rebuilds electrical transformers and voltage regulators. They incinerated the transformer oil residues which had remained in the transformers after the transformer oil is transferred to other containers. Approximately 5,000 pole mounted transformers had accumulated onsite during the time the facility has been in operation. These transformers were stored in an open yard, and a number of the transformers were opened and leaking onto the ground.

Site Responsibility
This site is being addressed by a Potentially Responsible Party under an EPA Superfund Removal Order.
NPL Listing History
This Site is not on the National Priorities List.

Threats and Contaminants

Oil containing PCBs does not in and of itself pose a threat of fire and explosion. However, when burned, PCBs have been demonstrated to produce dioxins, as a by-product of combustion, some of which are known carcinogens, mutagens and/or teratogens. PCBs may enter the body via skin absorption, ingestion, and/or inhalation. PCBs bioaccumulate in human and animal tissue at concentrations greater than exposure levels. PCBs may cause liver damage, skin pigmentation, and chloracne, and are a suspected human carcinogen.

Contaminant descriptions and risk factors are available from the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry, an arm of the CDC.


Cleanup Progress

In 1988, EPA representatives performed inspections of the Site to document and verify the compliance of Nelson Electrical Company, Inc. with Federal Toxic Substance Control Act (TSCA) regulations concerning the handling, storage, and disposal of Polychlorinated Biphenyls (PCBS) and PCB-contaminated materials. The inspection followed a complaint received from the Virginia Department of Waste Management (VDWM) regarding improper disposal of PCB-contaminated transformer oil at the Site. During the inspection EPA screened fifty (50) of the on-Site transformers, utilizing a Clor-n-oil-50 field test, to determine the presence of PCB-contaminated oil in excess of fifty (50) parts per million (ppm). Transformers containing PCB concentrations of 50 ppm or greater are considered to be PCB-contaminated or PCB transformers and therefore, must be stored and disposed according to the requirements of the PCB regulations promulgated under the authority of the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA). Nine transformers were found to contain PCBs in excess of 50 ppm. Also, stained soils around transformers were also sampled and found to contain PCBs in concentrations of 18 to 106 ppm.

The inspection also found, sixteen (16) drums containing PCB oils stored in the Transformer Building. These drums had the PCB concentrations marked on their sides, and the PCB concentrations ranged from 124 ppm to 866,433 ppm. The labels showed that the drums were placed in storage from March to October, 1988.

In 1989, assessments were performed by EPA to determine the presence and extent of migration of PCBs in surface sediments outside the property limits of the Facility. Analytical results show the presence of PCBs off-Site in concentrations of 0.5 to 36 ppm. The highest concentrations were detected outside the northeastern and southeastern sides of the property.

It was estimated that, of the approximately 5,000 transformers onsite 20 percent contained PCBs at or above the 50 ppm concentration level and were subject to the PCB regulations. There were also two-hundred (200) fifty-five gallon drums of transformer oil at the Site, which might have contained PCBs or were PCB contaminated.

Accumulation of rainfall in opened transformers displaced transformer oil containing PCBs which resulted in the release of transformer oil onto adjacent soils.

On June 22, 1990 EPA entered an Administrative Order By Consent with Nelson Electric. The Order called for Nelson Electric to secure the Site, prevent off-Site migration of PCBs, and dispose of soils, transformers and transformer oil contaminated by PCBs .


Site Contacts

Administrative Record Locations

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