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Blue Ribbon Paint Company

EPA Region 3 (Mid-Atlantic)

West Virginia
Ohio County
2321 Main Street
Wheeling, WV

EPA ID# WVD004319158

1st Congressional District

Last Update: March 2001
No future updates

Other Names


Current Site Status

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) completed work at the site on March 5, 1999 with the disposal of all flammable paint solvents and wastes. On April 2, 1999, the facility returned to the custody of the U.S. Bankruptcy Court. There is a potential for a Prospective Purchaser Agreement.

Site Description

The "Blue Ribbon Paint Site" consists of an abandoned manufacturing building and its outlying storage areas. The facility, including the warehouse and manufacturing building, encompasses 31,228 square feet. The Ohio River is approximately 100 yards down gradient to the west of the facility. The facility manufactured paint for 83 years, from 1914 until 1997. The Blue Ribbon Paint Company filed Chapter 7 Bankruptcy on April 10, 1998. The site was not properly shut down. Mixing vats were full of paint materials open to the atmosphere, and solvents were improperly stored. In addition, the company had been under a consent order from the West Virginia Division of Environmental Protection (WVDEP) to remediate certain areas of the building. The remediation was not completed. The building is located within 15 feet of three other operating businesses and is near the center of downtown Wheeling, WV.
Site Responsibility
An EPA Superfund Removal Action is addressing the cleanup of this site.
NPL Listing History
This Site is not on the National Priorities List.

Threats and Contaminants

The contaminants present at the site consisted of more than 25,000 gallons of ignitable materials and flammable solvents. This included a variety of paint related materials, including solvents, paint ingredients, and pigments. There was also palleted hazardous wastes illegally stored in the basement, two underground tanks containing pollutants, and a laboratory containing various chemicals. The presence of the combination of these uncontrolled and unrestricted materials posed a great risk of fire or explosion to the surrounding areas. A thorough inventory revealed 4,000 gallons of oil-based materials (including 2,083 gallons in open vats and 1,800 gallons of ethylene glycol), approximately 4,725 gallons of latex-based material (including 814 gallons in open vats), 3,000 gallons of polyvinyl acetate, 2,900 gallons of mineral spirits, 7,000 gallons of solvents from 10 outside tanks, 6,500 pounds of paint pigments, 10,000 pounds of dry starting materials, more than 230 fifty-five gallon drums of paint related materials, laboratory chemicals, and more than 5,000 pints, quart and gallon-size containers of paint test products. In addition, palleted hazardous wastes were stored in the basement of the facility. These wastes had been supposedly removed prior to bankruptcy, but actually had been illegally placed in the basement.

Cleanup Progress

Cleanup at the Blue Ribbon Paint Site began on September 28, 1998 when the EPA's Emergency Removal Contractor mobilized to the facility. Clean up actions commenced on March 5, 1999 when all of the above materials had been removed and shipped to licenced disposal facilities. Some of the hazardous materials on the site were found to be recyclable. Twenty-seven chemical and pigment manufacturers who had sold chemicals to Blue Ribbon Paint were contacted. Of those contacted, eight companies voluntarily assisted by recycling and/or reworking some of the materials into their manufacturing processes. The rest of the solvents, paint products as well as laboratory chemicals, were shipped to licensed disposal facilities. Analytical results from the floors revealed that the floors were contaminated with extremely high levels of lead and other metals. This material was removed and disposed. During the cleanup process, two underground tanks were discovered. One of the tanks contained water and an organo-mercury substance. The material in this tank was disposed of as hazardous waste. The other tank was not hazardous. All palleted hazardous wastes that had been illegally stored by the company in the facility basement were shipped for proper disposal. The site returned to the custody of the U.S. Bankruptcy Court on April 2, 1999.


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