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Fike Chemical, Inc

EPA Region 3 (Mid-Atlantic)

West Virginia
Kanawha and Putnam Counties
Nitro Industrial Complex in Nitro

EPA ID# WVD047989207

2nd Congressional District

Last Update: January 2014

Other Names

Fike Chemical/Artel
Artel Site

Current Site Status

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is overseeing the design and construction of a remedy for contaminated ground water, which has migrated a distance of about one mile from the property boundary of the Site. The current groundwater remedy consists of in situ (or in place) treatment with biosparging, which delivers air to contaminated ground water through a series of injection devices. Phase I of the groundwater remedy was constructed and became operational on June 12, 2007; Phase I encompasses the eastern leg of the groundwater plume. Several pilot scale tests have been conducted in order to evaluate how to optimize the in situ biosparging.  To date none of the pilot studies conducted have been successful in optimizing the in situ biosparging remedy.  Technologies evaluated have included ozone sparging and sodium persulfate injections.  In the Fall of 2014 EPA issued the Fike Trust a letter informing them that in-situ remedial actions have not been successful in meeting the Remedial Action Objectives described in the 2006 ROD Amendment, and that the Trust will need to undertake a focused feasibility study to see what additional remedial alternatives may be appropriate to implement at the Site.  The Trust began this work by undertaking a new groundwater evaluation to understand the current state and impact of the plume.  This information will be used to update the Site’s conceptual site model for groundwater and to evaluate additional groundwater remedial alternatives.  Once the focused feasibility study is concluded EPA will issue another decision document, allowing the public to participate in the decision making process, at this time EPA is still working on an updated schedule for this Site.  A vapor intrusion study has been completed and found that there is no risk of concern to building occupants from this potential exposure pathway.

The soils remedy for the site consisted of an asphalt cap which was completed on October 14, 2003. Currently the Site is being used for staging trucks affiliated with a truck washing facility.

Site Description

The Fike Chemical Site, located in Nitro, West Virginia, consists of two parcels; an 11-acre parcel which was a small volume batch operation that specialized in custom chemical processing, and a one-acre parcel containing the former CST plant which treated storm water and wastewater generated at the Fike Chemical plant. The owner of the Site disposed of hazardous materials by burying them in the ground or placing them in one of the three on-site lagoons. The plant was purchased by Artel Chemical in 1986, and was subsequently abandoned in 1988. An estimated 1,500 to 2,500 people reside within a one-mile radius of the site.
Site Responsibility
This Site is being addressed through Federal and potentially responsible parties' actions.
NPL Listing History
Proposed Date: 12/30/82
Final Date: 09/08/83

Threats and Contaminants

The groundwater is contaminated with various organic compounds from the chemical plant's process wastes. Dioxin has been detected in on-site soils. Potential human health threats exist if contaminated groundwater or soil is accidentally ingested. A portion of the groundwater plume flows toward the Kanawha River, located 2,000 feet east of the site and another portion flows toward Route 25. The site is capped with asphalt which prevents human contact with any contaminated soils. Impacted groundwater is not known to be used for domestic or industrial purposes.

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

Cleanup Progress

At the request of the state, EPA initiated a removal action to eliminate immediate threats in June 1988. Immediate threats included a methyl mercaptan storage tank, an estimated 10,000 drums of labeled and unlabeled hazardous materials, approximately 300 tanks and reactor vessels with associated piping, about 200 drums containing sodium metal in a nitrogen-purged building, and the Cooperative Sewage Treatment (CST) plant. During this removal action, a cylinder of uninhibited hydrogen cyanide was discovered, which was successfully detonated without incident. Approximately 774,000 gallons, 34,000 pounds and 1,000 cubic yards of hazardous and poisonous material were shipped off-site as part of this removal action.

Due to the complexity and the severity of the contamination, EPA organized the remaining cleanup activities into seven sections, known as operable units or OUs. OU5 is not a designated section of the site and therefore does not have work assigned. OU1 addressed the off-site disposal of the remaining 722 surface drums and other containers, as well as the contents of 17 tanks, in addition to the operation of the CST plant. This work was completed by EPA in 1993. OU2 and OU7 included the dismantling, decontamination, and removal of all remaining tanks, equipment, and structures at the site as specified in EPA's 1990 Record of Decision (ROD). Thirteen PRPs completed this work, including the supplemental off-site disposal of dioxin contaminated sludges (OU7) in 1995.

In the winter of 1993, fifty-four PRPs began the design work for the excavation of the buried drums and cylinders (OU3 & OU7). Of particular concern during this OU was the potential of a catastrophic release of vapors and toxic gases during excavation activities which required detailed planning and coordination with local emergency response groups. Waste materials shipped off-site included 1,310 over packed drums, 311 intermodal boxes, 616 roll-off containers and 5 cylinders. A new wastewater treatment plant was constructed to manage all surface water. This replaced the CST Plant. This work was completed in the winter of 1997.

Fifty-four PRPs conducted the removal action to dismantle the CST Plant (OU8) which was completed in September 1997. EPA issued a ROD for OU4 on September 28, 2001, which addresses groundwater and soils. The ROD was amended on December 28, 2006 to modify the ground water component of the remedy. The soils component of the remedy was completed in September 2003. In the Fall of 2014 EPA issued a letter to the Fike Trust informing them that the current groundwater remedy has not been able to meet the Remedial Action Alternatives described in the 2006 ROD Amendment and that the Trust would need to undertake a focused feasibility study to look at different remedial alternatives.  EPA and the Trust are in the process of updating the groundwater conceptual site model which will be used to evaluate additional groundwater remedial alternatives in the focused feasibility study.    


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