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EPA Region 3 (Mid-Atlantic)

West Virginia
Brooke County
1/4 mile from Follansbee

EPA ID# WVD004336749

1st Congressional District

Last Update: January 2015

Other Names

Koppers Disposal Site Coketown
Koppers Chemical Co.
Koppers Industries, Inc.
Wheeling Pittsburgh Steel

Current Site Status

Although the Site was deleted from the NPL, in January of 2004, EPA continues to address the site using the authorities conveyed by the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA), and EPA’s RCRA program is the primary lead for remediating the Site. An update of RCRA activities is available at http://www.epa.gov/reg3wcmd/ca/wv/webpages/wvd004336749.html  
The facility is currently owned and operated by Koppers Industries, Inc.  EPA (RCRA division) is overseeing Beazer East, former owner of the site, to implement a final remedy selected in 2010.

Site Description

The Follansbee site, located in Brooke County, West Virginia, is a 26-acre operating coal tar processing plant. The site consists of process and storage facilities for the manufacture of coal tar by-products. Contamination at the site is potentially high due to leaking tanks, spills, surface impoundments, and poor operation practices. The site is underlain by three formations (a Perched Zone, an Alluvial Aquifer and a Bedrock Aquifer).  All three formations are contaminated with polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), volatile organic compounds (VOCs) such as benzene and toluene, and heavy metals.  As much as 7 feet of DNAPL was detected in one bedrock well and 6 feet of DNAPL in one Alluvial Aquifer well. There are an estimated 5,900 people living within a 3-mile radius of the site. Follansbee obtains potable water from a radial collector well and a surface water intake located approximately one mile downstream of the facility. Fifty private residential water supply wells are within the three-mile radius, and there are public wells located five miles downstream that may be affected by this site.

Site Responsibility
Cleanup of this site is the responsibility of the Federal and State governments, and the parties potentially responsible for the 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 December 30, 1982. The site was formally added to the list September 8, 1983, making it eligible for federal cleanup funds.

The Site was deleted from the NPL in January of 2004. It is important to note that EPA is still involved in this Site. However EPA's RCRA division has taken the promary lead in remediating the Site.

Threats and Contaminants

EPA determined that human exposure to the contaminated soils is under control because the facility is largely paved and secured. Koppers industries developed and submitted a plan to EPA in February 1998 to increase the amount of paved area at the facility. The facility also provides for full-time security staff, which limits access to the property. EPA's determination is based on the assumption that institutional controls will continue indefinitely.

Contaminants in the groundwater include PAHs, VOCs such as benzene and toluene, DNAPLs, and metals. Surface water springs and riverbank seeps are contaminated with phenols. Potential health risks exist from drinking or coming in direct contact with contaminated groundwater and surface water. The Ohio River could be a threat to those who use it for recreational purposes or as a source for domestic water supplies. However, the effect of the site on the Ohio River has yet to be assessed.

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

Cleanup Progress

EPA’s Superfund program conducted a field investigation at the site, in 1982.  As a result, the site was included on the National Priority List (NPL), in1983.  A Consent Decree (CD) was signed, in August 1984, between the EPA and the PRPs with the State of West Virginia as intervener. The CD called for: paving a portion of the property; installing five recovery wells to eliminate seepage to the coal pits and prevent future groundwater contamination; and for conducting an alluvial aquifer study. On September 27, 1990, the PRPs and EPA signed an Administrative Order on Consent which transferred  the site cleanup responsibility to the RCRA program.

The facility is currently owned and operated by Koppers Industries, Inc.  In October 1990, EPA issued a 3008(h) Consent Order to Beazer East, former owner of the facility, to conduct a site-wide investigation and to identify a remedy.
On September 10, 2010, EPA issued a Statement of Basis (SB) in which EPA proposed a Final Remedy for the Facility. The proposed Final Remedy consisted of the following 4 components: a soils component (Soil Remedy); a sediment component (Sediment Remedy); a groundwater component (Groundwater Remedy); and Facility-wide Institutional Controls (ICs). The proposed Soil Remedy consisted of compliance with and maintenance of ICs. The proposed Sediment Remedy consisted of dredging and capping. The proposed Groundwater Remedy consisted of continued operation of the interim perched groundwater collection system and the expansion of the interim dense non-aqueous phase liquid (DNAPL) recovery system, as well as compliance with and maintenance of institutional controls. The last component of the proposed Final Remedy was Facility-wide Non-Engineering Controls.

On September 10, 2010, EPA placed an announcement in the Weirton Daily Times to announce a 30-day public comment period on the SB. Based on comments received during the public comment period, EPA has determined that it is not necessary to modify its proposed Final Remedy, as set forth in the SB. EPA is, however, making minor modifications to the factual background and clarifying certain aspects of the proposed Final Remedy, as described in the Final Decision and Response to Comments (FDRTC) document (59 pp, 3569 K, About PDF).

Construction of the cap began, in Summer 2011, and was completed, on January 25, 2012, in accordance with a Remedy Implementation Order issued on January 3, 2012.  The remaining work of the remedy will be implemented in 2013 and beyond.  It will include:  (1) development of an Operation, Maintenance and Monitoring plan for the cap; (2) expansion of the DNAPL recovery system; and (3) development of an Environmental Covenant to implement facility-wide institutional controls.


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