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Spelter Smelter

EPA Region 3 (Mid-Atlantic)

West Virginia
Harrison County

EPA ID# WV0000634584

1st Congressional District

Last Update: March 2001
No future updates

Other Names

Spelter Zinc Plant

Current Site Status

Site oversight responsibility has been taken over by the State of West Virginia’s Voluntary Remediation Program. In early 2001, Dupont and T. L.. Diamond, the Potentially Responsible Parties (PRPs), completed a Supplemental Site Assessment and a Human Health Risk Assessment. The reports have been submitted to the State for review. A determination will be made by the State if additional site assessment and or health risk information is needed. Following this, the West Virginia Voluntary Remediation Program calls for a Site Remedy Evaluation Report to be submitted by the PRPs.

The PRPs have consolidated the zinc tailings and installed erosion control security measures at the Site in accordance with an approved response action plan. A final report on this segment of the response action plan was received and approved by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). A close-out order for this segment of the plan was signed.

Site Description

The Spelter Smelter Site consists of an area of approximately 117 acres and is situated in a moderately populated rural area within the limits of the unincorporated town of Spelter. Dupont and two other companies operated a zinc smelting plant at the Site from approximately 1910 to 1971. Zinc tailings, a residue of the smelting process, were taken from the retorts, where the zinc ore was removed, transported by hopper-cars on rail to an open area of the facility and dumped on the ground at the Site. The consequence of this method of disposal resulted in zinc tailing piles of up to 100 feet high covering about 50 acres, with high concentrations of lead, cadmium, and arsenic. Residential areas are located immediately north, northeast and east and some homes are within 50 yards of the zinc tailing piles. Although signs have been posted in an effort to restrict access, children continue to ride dirt-bikes over the zinc tailings piles and along a bike trail adjacent to the piles. The West Fork River is situated immediately west of the zinc tailings piles.
Site Responsibility
Cleanup of this site is being handled under an EPA Superfund Removal Order with the potentially responsible party.
NPL Listing History
This Site is not currently on the National Priorities List.

Threats and Contaminants

A benthic organism and water quality study was conducted by the West Virginia Division of Environmental Protection (WVDEP) at a portion of the West Fork River adjacent to the Site. The conclusion of that study was that the leachate from the zinc tailings was having an adverse impact on water quality and benthic macro invertebrates. Surface runoff samples taken by WVDEP also exceeded Resource Conservation and Recovery Act leaching limits for cadmium and lead. Soil sampling conducted by EPA found elevated concentrations of cadmium, lead and arsenic in the tailings piles, the bike trail, and residential areas adjacent to the Site. Groundwater sampling also revealed zinc and cadmium contamination.

Cleanup Progress

EPA issued a unilateral order for pile consolidation and the installation of erosion control and security measures in September of 1997. The PRPs have accomplished the work in the approved response action plan submitted in accordance with the order.


Site Contacts

Region 3 | Mid-Atlantic Cleanup | Mid-Atlantic Superfund |EPA Home | EPA Superfund Homepage

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