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Fact Sheet December 1994


This fact sheet provides an update on activities at the Avtex Fibers Superfund Site. It reviews the clean-up efforts and gives the status of environmental investigations at the site. It explains how monitoring efforts helped lessen the impact of a recent leak at the site.


From the end of July through mid-October, EPA removed over one million gallons of waste products from the Avtex Site.

Of this amount, we recycled 326,705 gallons of sodium hydroxide, removed 391,900 gallons of water from the carbon disulfide moat, and drained 263,400 gallons of liquid from the zinc recovery tank and viscose cellar. Also, we disposed of 127,239 gallons of such hazardous substances as waste sodium hydroxide, PCBs, waste oils, and lab materials.

As you may remember, an oil leak occurred at the site in May 1994. That leak has been completely cleaned up, and site activities continued throughout uninterrupted. To help prevent further leaks, we now inspect all tanks and process vessels daily.

In October, about 20 gallons of sulfuric acid leaked from a 5,000 gallon capacity tank. Tank corrosion caused the leak.

We neutralized the acid that leaked onto the ground. The acid remaining in the tank was pumped into a sound tank. EPA credits the routine inspections with finding the second leak so quickly and helping to keep the leak amount small.

In 1989, EPA issued an order to the bankruptcy trustee of the Avtex facility property. The order required the trustee to maintain Avtex property and equipment, such as tanks and process equipment. Unfortunately, the trustee has not been able to maintain the property and equipment.


Our primary role at all sites, by law, is to minimize and eliminate the worst environmental hazards first. We do not own the Avtex site, and therefore do not maintain the site (although we deal with problems, such as leaks, promptly and on a case-by-case basis). We continue to investigate the site and address its environmental problems by dealing with the most polluted areas first.


EPA and FMC, a potentially responsible party at the Avtex Site, have both investigated the site. The investigations included monitoring the conditions of the buildings, sewers, lagoons, ground water, off-site and on-site soils, waste water treatment plant, and fly ash areas.

EPA hired an engineering firm, Halliburton-NUS, to perform studies such as an Ecological Assessment, a River Investigation Summary, and a Building Inventory Report. We are reviewing these studies now. These studies will help us understand how the Avtex Site's environmental problems may affect the surrounding area, including people, plants, animals, and water.

FMC has completed its investigation and provided EPA with a Summary Report. The report identified areas of the site where further investigation is needed, such as on- and off- site ground water (water beneath the earth's surface, located between saturated soil and rock, that supplies wells and springs), viscose basins, and several separate areas

of on-site soil. FMC and EPA continue to discuss the scope of the next phase of investigation.

FMC's report discussed where further investigation is needed at the Avtex Site and how much additional work will be required.


EPA continues to work with the Warren County Economic Development Corporation to support the re-use of buildings on the Avtex Fibers property.

Some of the studies FMC prepared may be helpful in finding out which areas can be used again.


EPA also continues to work closely with the Friends of the Shenandoah River (FOTSR) to manage the Technical Assistance Grant (TAG). TAG funds awarded to FOTSR pay Cloverleaf Environmental, a qualified environmental consultant.

Bob Marshall, of Cloverleaf Environmental, helps the group understand documents and other technical information about the Avtex Fibers Site. The group sends out periodic newsletters.


To get more information about the Avtex Fibers Superfund Site:


Samuels Public Library
538 Villa Avenue
Front Royal, VA 22630
(703) 635-3153

Ask the reference librarian for the Avtex administrative record file, a collection of documents related to the work at the Avtex Site.


Remedial Project Manager
Bonnie Gross

Community Involvement Coordinator
Richard Kuhn

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