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Culpeper Wood Preserves, Inc.

EPA Region 3 (Mid-Atlantic)

Culpeper County
Catalpa District
on the outskirts of Culpeper

EPA ID# VAD059165282

7th Congressional District

Last Update: January 2015

Other Names


Current Site Status

Site Description

The Culpeper Wood Preservers site, located in Culpeper County, Virginia, is an active 20-acre wood treatment facility that formerly used the chromated copper arsenate (CCA) waterborne treating process. Early on in the plant's operation, pressure-treated lumber was placed on an uncovered drip pad. As the lumber dried, CCA-contaminated drippings dropped directly to the ground. In early 1981, approximately 100,000 gallons of CCA-contaminated wastewater were released from an unlined, on-site waste impoundment, contaminating neighboring surface waters. In January 1982, the Virginia State Water Control Board (SWCB) determined that the groundwater had become contaminated with arsenic and chromium from the wood treatment processes. Over 40 residences located within 2,000 feet of the site rely on groundwater for their drinking water supplies.
Site Responsibility
Cleanup of this site is the responsibility of federal and state governments, the site owner, and parties potentially responsible for site contamination.
NPL Listing History
This site was proposed to the National Priorities List of the most serious uncontrolled or abandoned hazardous waste sites requiring long-term remedial action on October 15, 1984. The site was formally added to the list June 10, 1986, making it eligible for federal cleanup funds.

Threats and Contaminants

The groundwater on site was contaminated with arsenic and chromium from the wood-treatment processes, according to the analyses conducted by the SWCB. Contaminated soil containing chromium, copper, and arsenic was removed from the site in 1983. However, some soil contamination may still remain. Wastewater containing CCA has contaminated neighboring surface waters. Potential risks exist for individuals who drink contaminated groundwater or surface water. The SWCB determined in 1986 that homeowner wells were not contaminated. However, ground water sampling in 2007 and 2008 confirmed that the contamination has now reached the drinking water wells of three homes in the vicinity of the Site. Based on new toxicity information on hexavalent chromium, the drinking water wells of two additional homes are also impacted. Culpeper Wood Preservers is now servicing these homes with bottled water. An unnamed tributary that lies 750 yards northeast of the site and extends approximately three miles before entering Jonas Run potentially could be contaminated. Contaminated groundwater or surface water also may affect recreation and fishing.

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

Cleanup Progress

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the Commonwealth of Virginia in 1981 required that Culpeper Wood Preservers, Inc., the Potentially Responsible Party (PRP), improve site conditions to control contaminated runoff which included removing a portion of contaminated soil, constructing newly covered drip pads, and reconstructing the waste impoundment. In addition, 20-foot trenches were dug downgradient from the impoundments to catch leachate.

Culpeper Wood Preservers entered into a Consent Order with EPA to conduct a site-wide study to determine the extent of contamination and to identify alternative technologies for the cleanup at the site. Sampling of the surface water and sediments in the wetland areas down gradient from the site occurred in the spring of 2007. The bulk of the sampling (groundwater, soil, surface water, and sediments) on the site and in the area of the site occurred in August of 2007. Residential well sampling and additional soil sampling occurred in August 2008. Follow-up residential well sampling occurred in November 2008. Based on the residential well sampling, Culpeper is now supplying several homes with water. A revised Remedial Investigation report was submitted to EPA in October 2010. Culpeper also began work on the Feasibility Study report. However, work on these reports has been suspended while a review of the clean-up standard for hexavalent chromium is being undertaken. This should be completed in 2013. Upon completion of the Remedial Investigation and Feasibility Study reports, EPA will select a final cleanup remedy for the site, with design of the selected remedy slated to start soon thereafter.


Site Contacts

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