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C & R Battery Company, Inc

EPA Region 3 (Mid-Atlantic)

Chesterfield County
Richmond 650 feet from the James River

EPA ID# VAD049957913

4th Congressional District

Last Update: January 2013

Other Names


Current Site Status

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has reviewed the post-cleanup report for the C&R Battery site and found the site cleanup was so thorough that contaminant levels in soil are now below those used as cleanup goals for residential properties. This means the cleanup has gone beyond its goals, creating an area that is safe for both industrial use and residential use as well. Periodic groundwater sampling continues, due to acid detected in groundwater monitoring wells at the site over an extended period of time. EPA reviewed the monitoring data and found that Verizon failed to show that the battery operations did not contribute to the acid in the groundwater. A third five year review of the Site was completed on September 30, 2008. EPA concluded that a remedial investigation/feasibility study of the groundwater was needed to determine the extent of the acid contamination. Verizon will collect background groundwater samples off-site to compare with groundwater on-site. EPA is preparing a groundwater order, which will be issued to Verizon.

Site Description

The 11-acre C & R Battery Company site is in a rural and industrial area of Virginia. The James River is 650 feet north of this site. Between the early 1970s and 1985, the company dismantled batteries from cars, trucks and commercial applications in order to recover lead and lead oxide. The process involved cutting open batteries and draining acid into on-site ponds. This practice resulted in lead contamination of soil, drainage-ditch sediments, and surface water. In 1982, the company detected high levels of lead in soils, in an on-site monitoring well, and drainage ditches leading to the James River.

Approximately 300 people live within a mile of this site. An estimated 1,200 people, living within three miles of the site, draw drinking water from private wells that tap the same aquifer. The nearest residential well is about 1,250 feet from the site.

Site Responsibility
Cleanup of this site was the responsibility of federal and state governments, the site owner, and parties potentially responsible for site contamination.
NPL Listing History
Our country's most serious uncontrolled or abandoned hazardous waste sites can be cleaned using federal money. To be eligible for federal cleanup money, a site must be put on the National Priorities List (NPL). This site was proposed to the National Priorities List on January 22, 1987. The site was formally added to the list on July 22, 1987, making it eligible for federal cleanup funds.

Threats and Contaminants

There is now no sign of contamination from the site in nearby surface water. The James River wetlands, approximately three miles downstream, are also free of site contaminants. These wetlands are used for recreational purposes. Soil sampling showed that the cleanup was effective.

When the site was still active, its operator detected high levels of lead in an on-site monitoring well and in site soils. These tests done during site operations also found heavy metals and acids in the surface water. Air monitoring done at several work areas during battery-breaking operations showed lead contamination levels had been well above the Federal standards.

Prior to 1986, some company employees underwent routine health checkups and discovered that they had high levels of lead in their blood. Before the site cleanup, the nearby population faced possible health risk from ingesting or coming in direct contact with contaminated soil, surface water, or groundwater. The possibility of inhaling contaminated airborne particles was also a health concern before cleanup took place.

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

Cleanup Progress

In July 1986, EPA took emergency action at the site, mixing soils and pools of acid with lime to reduce acidity. Some contaminated soils were excavated and stored pending final disposal. EPA also installed drainage controls, a cap, and a fence to restrict direct access to contaminated areas of the site.

In January 1990, EPA completed a study that documented the nature and extent of contamination associated with the former battery-breaking operation. Several rounds of sampling showed that the groundwater did not pose a risk to human health or the environment. EPA also evaluated various long-term cleanup options. In March 1990, EPA and the Commonwealth of Virginia issued a formal legal document (Record of Decision) that outlined the way site contamination would be addressed.

The March 1990 cleanup decision called for: stabilizing or solidifying lead-contaminated soils and sediments; disposing of the treated material in a nearby solid waste landfill; cleaning and closing a former on-site acid pond area; and covering of areas within and outside the pond with clean soil before replanting the entire site. EPA completed the design of this cleanup plan in spring of 1992. Parties responsible for the site funded the cleanup work which started in November 1992. All construction at this site is finished. Groundwater monitoring will continue to ensure the continued effectiveness of the cleanup action.

In December 1997, EPA collected and analyzed soil samples from the Capitol Oil Company property, which is part of the site. The samples were collected from an area that once housed multiple above-ground storage tanks. No elevated levels of lead were detected in the soil samples. However, elevated levels of hydrocarbons were identified. The results of the soil analyses were forwarded to the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality (VDEQ) for potential follow-up activities. VDEQ did not find that there were elevated concentrations fof hydrocarbon that had been released into the ground. Currently, a second five year review is being performed on the Site.

EPA completed the third Five-Year review of the Site in 2008. EPA concluded that Site activities contributed to the low pH in groundwater. Verizon will collect groundwater samples from wells located off site to evaluate the acid background in this area. EPA is preparing a groundwater order, which will be issued to Verizon. .


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