Fact Sheet #4, September 1996
EPA Issues Action Memorandum
In July 1996, EPA issued a document called an Action Memorandum for the Hyman- Viener Site. The Action Memorandum provides EPA with additional funds to perform removal actions on the portion of the site formerly used by Hyman-Viener and Sons for lead smelting operations. This money is allocated for clean-up actions on the facility property, not for the residential clean-up program .
In the Action Memorandum, EPA outlined the three goals of the removal action for the Hyman-Viener Site. These goals are:
- removing or covering contaminated soils on the site property to reduce direct contact, inhalation, or ingestion threats posed by lead contamination
- creating a storm water management system to eliminate the spread of lead- contaminated ground and surface waters
- dismantling and disposing off site the former lead smelting facility building.
Upcoming Clean-up Work at the Hyman-Viener Facility
To achieve the goals outlined in the Action Memorandum, EPA plans to conduct additional removal activities. The following paragraphs summarize the specific activities that EPA will perform at the Hyman-Viener facility.
Construct a Protective Cap
Hyman Viener and Sons used a large area of the site as a waste disposal area, similar to an unlined landfill. To prevent the contaminated soils in this area from moving off site and to prevent people from coming into contact with these soils, EPA will construct a protective cap over the former facility area. The cap also will help stop surface water from leaking into the disposal area and spreading the contamination. A cap generally is a layer of material, such as a synthetic cover, placed over a contaminated area to prevent water from entering the ground. Caps also prevent humans or animals from coming in contact with contamination. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers will be designing and constructing the cap.
During previous sampling events, EPA found high levels of lead contamination in the soils around the waste disposal area at the facility. To address this contamination, EPA will excavate, treat, and/or dispose of the soils. The remaining soil will be covered with clean fill, gravel, or other cover materials. The cover will help to eliminate the potential for contact with the contamination.
Construct a Storm Water Management System
Water that collects at the site could enter the soil and spread the contamination. To prevent this from happening, EPA will construct a storm water management system. The system will direct storm water away from the site and prevent water from entering the soil that is contaminated.
EPA previously constructed a pond on site to prevent storm water runoff. However, to build the cap, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers must fill in the pond. An alternate storm water management system will be developed to direct storm water away from the site.
Demolish the Former Lead Smelting Facility
Sampling at the site showed that the former lead smelting facility was heavily contaminated. EPA determined that the contamination was so extensive that the building could not be decontaminated effectively. To address the contamination, EPA plans to dismantle the entire building. During the dismantling of the facility,, all remaining metal beams will be decontaminated. EPA will dispose of the remaining facility materials, primarily mortar and bricks that cannot be decontaminated adequately, off site. By demolishing the building, EPA hopes to reduce significantly the contamination at the site.
Install Monitoring Wells
EPA will install several new ground water monitoring wells to monitor ground water flow and the integrity of the cap. Samples taken from the monitoring wells will help EPA monitor the direction the ground water flow or will show the levels of contamination present in the ground water.
What Happens Next?
In the coming months, EPA and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers will develop design plans for all of the activities described above. Design plans are similar to blueprints. They describe in detail all the activities that EPA must conduct to complete the cleanup at the site. As soon as the residential cleanups are completed, EPA will begin work on the demolition and excavation projects at the site. EPA anticipates completing the design of the cap by the spring of 1997 and plans construction to begin by the fall of 1997.
Update on Residential Cleanups
EPA has completed the cleanup of 81 homes contaminated with lead from the Hyman- Viener Site. The home clean-up program began in June 1995. By the end of 1996, EPA will complete the program for approximately 98 percent of the homes targeted for cleanup.
Last year, EPA identified approximately 100 homes needing cleanup near the Hyman-Viener Site. To determine eligibility for the clean-up program, EPA sampled the soil and household dust from homes in the Fulton Hill and Marion Hill areas of Richmond. EPA then used information about the levels of lead in the soil and dust, whether the homes had lead paint, and whether children lived in the homes to determine which homes EPA needed to clean.
Updating the Community
EPA will hold a public meeting regarding the clean-up work at the facility. Public meetings offer a forum for the community to learn about the site, to express their concerns, and to ask questions related to the site and site clean-up activities.
Prior to 1940, property owners used the site to manufacture clay bricks. Hyman-Viener and Sons purchased the property in 1940 and converted it to a lead foundry. In 1941, Hyman-Viener began lead smelting operations using a coke furnace which produced a lead waste. Hyman-Viener used the waste to fill in holes on site dug by the former owner.
In the late 1950s, Hyman-Viener replaced the coke furnace with a furnace that used natural gas. This furnace generated a flue-dust waste. For approximately ten years, Hyman-Viener used no controls on the lead dust coming from the furnace stacks. In the late 1960s, Hyman-Viener installed baghouses to trap the dust. The company stored the dust in bags on site until workers recycled the dust through the furnace. In 1983, Hyman-Viener stopped operations at the plant.
In 1984, Hyman-Viener shipped reusable lead material and most of the salvageable equipment to another smelter. In February 1985, the company collected 130 soil samples at the site. Analysis of the soil samples revealed lead levels ranging from 1 ppm to 155 ppm.
To verify the sampling results collected by Hyman-Viener, EPA sampled the soil at the site in 1993. EPA detected lead contamination levels as high as 200,000 ppm. Because of these high lead levels in and around the facility and the close proximity of residences, EPA began removal actions at the site in October 1993.
To gain a better understanding of community concerns and needs regarding the Hyman-Viener Site, EPA will conduct interviews during the week of October 7, 1996 with members of the community. EPA depends upon community input to address concerns quickly and accurately. EPA will use information from the community interviews to help develop the Hyman-Viener Site Community Relations Plan. The Community Relations Plan discusses the site history, EPA activities at the site, and an overview of the community’s involvement and concerns. The Community Relations Plan also details EPA’s community relations goals and the activities EPA will conduct at the site to achieve these goals.
If you would like to participate in the community interviews, please complete the form below and mail it to Felicia Dailey at: U.S. EPA (3HW43), 1650 Arch St, Philadelphia, PA 19103-2029. Please respond to EPA by October 1, 1996. You also can reach Felicia by calling the EPA Superfund Hotline: 1-800-553-2509.
For More Information...
If you would like more information about the Hyman-Viener Site, please contact the EPA officials listed below:
Community Involvement Coordinator
U.S. EPA (3HW43)
1650 Arch St
Philadelphia, PA 19103-2029
1-800-553-2509 or 215-814-5524 (please note the change of telephone number)
U.S. EPA (3HW31)
5300 Hatcher Avenue
Richmond, VA 23231