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Rentokil, Inc.

EPA Region 3 (Mid-Atlantic)

Henrico County
Northwest of Richmond near I-95

EPA ID# VAD071040752

7th Congressional District

Last Update: January 2015

Other Names

Virginia Wood Preservers

Current Site Status

Site Description

The Rentokil, Inc. site located in Henrico County, Virginia is a 10-acre former wood treating plant. Wood treating operations started in 1957 and were terminated in 1990. Since 1982, the operation used only the chromated copper arsenate process to treat wood. In previous years, pentachlorophenol (PCP), creosote, chromated copper arsenate, chromated zinc arsenate, xylene, and fire retardants in a solution of ammonium phosphates and sulfates were also used. These processes also required the plant to use mineral spirits and fuel oil in the preserving mixtures. An open earthen pit was used for the discharge of waste processing fluids from 1957 to 1963. In 1963, the earthen pit was cleared, cleaned, and replaced with a concrete holding pond under the direction of the Virginia State Water Control Board because of three fish kills in a nearby pond. In 1976 or 1977, approximately 1,100 to 1,400 pounds of chromated copper arsenate (CCA) were rendered unusable and were disposed of in a ditch on the site. In 1987, Rentokil, the PRP for the site, and EPA signed a Consent Order (CO) to determine the nature and extent of contamination and identify alternatives. The investigation determined that the groundwater, soil, and surface water are contaminated with pentachlorophenol, creosote derivatives, copper, chromium, arsenic, and dioxin from the plant operations. Approximately 1,500 people live within a one-mile radius of the site. When the site was placed on the National Priorities List (NPL), approximately 350 people used drinking water from wells drilled into the aquifers of concern. In 1987, water lines were extended to those residents living near the site.
Site Responsibility
Cleanup for this site is the responsibility of the federal government and the potentially responsible parties.
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 January 22, 1987 The site was formally added to the list March 31, 1989, making it eligible for federal cleanup funds.

Threats and Contaminants

The groundwater and soil are contaminated with PCP, creosote derivatives, copper, chromium, arsenic, and dioxin from former wood preserving operations. Potential risks exist if individuals accidentally ingest or come in direct contact with contaminated groundwater or soil.

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

Cleanup Progress

In the spring of 1991, all of the wood treating equipment was removed from the site. In March 1992, Virginia Properties, Inc. (a wholly owned subsidiary of Rentokil, Inc.) and EPA entered into a Removal Consent Order to design, construct, and maintain sediment control structures to reduce further migration of sediment containing arsenic, chromium, copper, and zinc to the unnamed tributary to North Run. A final cleanup decision for the site was reached between EPA and Virginia in June 1993. In February 1994, Virginia Properties Inc. signed a Consent Decree to design and implement the remedy, which included demolition of remaining structures, excavation and off-site disposal of the unusable CCA, excavation and off-site incineration of pond sediments, construction of a cap, low temperature thermal desorption of "hot spot" soil, a slurry wall, a dewatering system (horizontal wells) within the cap/slurry wall, and restoration of three wetland areas. Based on an analysis by Virginia Properties Inc., EPA amended the cleanup decision in August 1996 to delete the low temperature thermal desorption of the "hot spot" soil.

Because hazardous substances and materials are left in place at the site, EPA will conduct a review at least every five years to make sure the site remains protective of human health and the environment. The next five-year review is scheduled to occur by September 2013. EPA will continue to update this web-site with the progress made in evaluating the ground water contamination.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is presently overseeing the long-term groundwater cleanup of the Rentokil Inc. site. Construction of the cleanup systems were completed in August, 1999. EPA, the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality (VDEQ), the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE), Virginia Properties, Inc. (the potentially responsible party (PRP) and successor to Rentokil), and their contractors conducted a pre-final inspection on August 3, 1999 and determined that the systems were constructed in accordance with the remedial design plans and specifications. The remedial action includes the following components: demolition, off-site disposal of contaminated material, construction of a slurry wall, dewatering system, divider walls, monitoring wells, wetland restoration, and construction of a cap. EPA and VDEQ accepted a proposal made by Virginia Properties, Inc. during the design phase to incorporate possible redevelopment of the site after completion of the remedy. The proposal includes light industrial/commercial buildings constructed on the site with the building foundations incorporated into the cap, a concept termed "divider walls."

Virginia Properties, Inc. pumped contaminated groundwater from within the cap/slurry wall containment area and treated the groundwater at an off-site facility until May 2005, when EPA and VDEQ agreed to a moratorium on the recovery and treatment of the groundwater. The moratorium has been extended indefinitely.

Since the end of the remedial action, EPA and VPI have been investigating high levels of pentachlorophenol (PCP) contamination in the area of VPMW-2. These investigations include placement of additional wells (delineation wells), soil sampling, and a pilot remediation. The pilot, which occurred in October 2007, included slowly withdrawing ground water in the vicinity of VPMW-2 over 12 consecutive weeks. Ground water sampling was performed to evaluate the impact on the levels of contamination in this area; however, the results were not conclusive. EPA approved a proposed work plan for a focused feasibility study to address these high levels of PCP. Ground water and subsurface soil sampling for the focused feasibility study occurred in October 2011 and a sampling report issued in January 2012. EPA reviewed the report and gave direction for the focused feasibility study. The draft focused feasibility study was completed in November 2012. In December 2013, EPA selected a remedy for this area that includes extending the cap and slurry wall containment system and continued ground water monitoring.

In the winter of 2009, EPA deleted a portion of the Site to accommodate industrial/commercial development. This partial deletion includes the soil and sediment at former Wetland Areas B and C and the ground water at former Wetland Area C. The remaining areas and media of the Site, including the ground water at former Wetland Area B, will remain on the National Priorities List.

The second Five-Year Review Report for the site was issued on September 20, 2008. Through this review, EPA has determined that the remedy is protective of human health and the environment. The findings of the review include: all threats associated with ingestion or dermal contact with contaminated soil and sediments have been adequately addressed through capping of the Site and excavation and consolidation of those areas of contaminated soil and sediments previously located beyond the cap; the ground water clean-up goals selected for the Site are protective of human health and the environment; and, long-term protectiveness will be verified by obtaining ground water samples to fully evaluate potential migration of the contaminant plume downgradient of the slurry wall.

There are four issues that were brought up in the review that are related to the current Site operations, conditions, or activities which would prevent the remedy from being protective. These four issues are: VPI's long-term monitoring and maintenance activities no longer follow the frequency in the approved Operation & Maintenance Plan; continued high levels of ground water contamination at monitoring well VPMW-2; Wetland A re-vegetation has not met the criteria for successful mitigation; and, former Wetland Area B has been sold to a developer. EPA notified VPI of the need to update the Operation and Maintenance Plan and this was done by VPI in July 2009. Using the information submitted by VPI on the contamination at VPMW-2, EPA is developing a new strategy to determine the most appropriate remediation for the contamination and will be approaching VPI for additional work. Regarding Wetland A re-vegetation, VPI has submitted the 10th-year end-of-year report to EPA and the US Fish & Wildlife Service, thus fulfilling the monitoring criteria for the site. Finally, in regards to former Wetland Area B, VPI needs to assure all future construction in this area complies with the Restrictive Covenant and does not damage the existing remedy.


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