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Harris Corporation (Palm Bay Plant)

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East side of the Harris Corp. property.

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Site Summary Profile
EPA ID: FLD000602334
Location: Palm Bay, Brevard County, FL
Lat/Long: 28.030280, -080.601380
Congressional District: 15
NPL Status: Proposed: 04/10/85; Final: 07/22/87
Affected Media: Ground water
Cleanup Status: Construction Complete – physical cleanup activities have been completed
Human Exposure Under Control: Yes
Groundwater Migration Under Control: Yes
Sitewide Ready for Anticipated Use: Yes
Site Reuse/Redevelopment: In continued use – industrial land uses and paved parking areas are located on site
Site Manager: Michael Taylor (taylor.michael@epa.gov)

Current Site Status

The Harris Corp. (Palm Bay Plant) site includes two industrial properties where a variety of manufacturing activities have taken place since the 1950s. EPA placed the site on the National Priorities List (NPL) in 1987 because of contaminated ground water resulting from past operations. EPA, the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (FDEP) and Harris Corporation, the site’s potentially responsible party (PRP), have investigated site conditions and taken steps to clean up the site in order to protect people and the environment from contamination. Site contamination does not currently threaten people living and working near the site. Workers on site as well as nearby residents and businesses use the public water system for drinking purposes. By monitoring ground water and undertaking Five-Year Reviews, EPA, FDEP and the PRP continue to protect people and the environment from site contamination.

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Site Location and Background

The site is located in Palm Bay in east-central Florida, about three miles from the Atlantic Ocean. The site occupies approximately 310 acres along the north and south sides of Palm Bay Road. The site includes the 170-acre Harris Corporation property (south of Palm Bay Road) and the 140-acre Intersil Corporation property (north of Palm Bay Road). Undeveloped land, residential neighborhoods, office buildings, a park and the City of Palm Bay’s water treatment plant border the site. The nearest homes are located over a thousand feet from the site boundary.

An electronics company supporting the aerospace industry operated at the site in the 1950s and 1960s. Harris Corporation acquired the company in 1967 and has been operating in Palm Bay since then. With the exception of the Former Building 100 Area, all the company's expansion efforts have been onto undeveloped property. Two previous manufacturing firms operated at the Former Building 100 Area and used it for painting operations, metal operations and barrel storage. Intersil Corporation later acquired the portion of the facility located north of Palm Bay Road from Harris Corporation. Harris Government Communications Systems Division is located south of Palm Bay Road. In 1987, EPA listed the site on the NPL.

Both the Harris and Intersil corporations continue to manufacture equipment on site. Intersil Corporation also leases portions of its property for use by other companies.

View site location map.

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Threats and Contaminants

Site investigations identified contamination in ground water that could potentially harm people in the area. Ground water contamination resulted from past operations at the site. Contaminants of concern identified include vinyl chloride, trichloroethylene and chromium.

Site investigations identified contaminated ground water beneath the Harris Corporation facility and the adjacent well field owned by Palm Bay Utilities Corporation (PBUC) in the early 1980s. PBUC provides drinking water and sewage treatment and disposal services for residents of Palm Bay. Ground water contamination is contained within the site boundary. Nearby residents and businesses use the public water system for drinking purposes. Ground water contamination does not affect PBUC’s public water system. EPA has also determined that vapor intrusion from contaminated ground water into buildings on site is not a concern. The St. John’s River Water Management District has listed the site as a ground water delineation area, which means all wells placed in the area require the District’s approval.

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Investigation and Cleanup Responsibility / Oversight

The site’s PRP leads site investigation and cleanup activities, with oversight provided by EPA and FDEP. 

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Site Cleanup Plan

ite investigations and cleanup activities have focused on two areas, which EPA refers to as operable units, or OUs. These areas include OU-1: ground water contamination associated with the Harris Government Communications Systems Division property, including the Former Building 100 Area south of Palm Bay Road; and OU-2: ground water contamination associated with the Intersil Corporation property north of Palm Bay Road.

More information on these OUs is available online in key site cleanup documents, including RODs and Five-Year Reviews.

In 1990, EPA issued a cleanup plan (a Record of Decision, or ROD) for OU-1. The plan included the following activities:

In 1995, EPA issued the cleanup plan (ROD) for OU-2. The plan included the following activities:

In 2010, EPA issued an Explanation of Significant Differences to document an institutional control restricting access to site ground water. The St. John’s River Water Management District’s listing of the site as a ground water delineation area means that all wells placed in the area require the District’s approval.

Summaries of site cleanup approaches are also available online in key site cleanup documents, including the RODs and Five-Year Reviews.

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Cleanup Progress

In 1984, the PRP built an air stripping system to treat contaminated water from PBUC wells. In 1985, the PRP put in place a pump-and-treat system on a portion of the Harris Corporation property (south of Palm Bay Road) to treat contaminated ground water associated with OU-1. Following EPA approval, the PRP deactivated the system in 2002 and currently uses monitored natural attenuation to address remaining OU-1 ground water contamination.

In 1990, the PRP began using a pump-and-treat system to address ground water contamination associated with OU-2 (north of Palm Bay Road). Following EPA approval, the PRP deactivated the system in 2000 and currently uses monitored natural attenuation to address remaining OU-2 ground water contamination.

The site’s second Five-Year Review, completed in 2009, found that the site cleanup approach is working as expected and continues to protect people and the environment from remaining site contamination. The PRP continues to conduct regular ground water sampling and submit annual ground water monitoring reports to EPA and FDEP.

Summaries of cleanup activities are also available in Five-Year Reviews online.

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Enforcement Activities

EPA and Florida Department of Environmental Resources (FDER, now FDEP) negotiated legal agreements with Harris Corporation, the site’s PRP, to investigate and clean up the site. Harris Corporation continues to fund site cleanup, monitoring and oversight activities.

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Community Involvement

EPA has worked with the community and its state partner to develop a long-term cleanup plan for the site, reflecting the Agency’s commitment to safe, healthy communities and environmental protection. Community engagement and public outreach are core components of EPA program activities.

EPA has conducted a range of community involvement activities to solicit community input and to make sure the public remains informed about site activities throughout the cleanup process. Outreach efforts have included public notices and information meetings.

During the most recent Five-Year Review, EPA staff interviewed local residents to identify any community concerns. The Agency also issued a press notice summarizing Five-Year Review findings.

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Future Work

EPA completed the last Five-Year Review in 2009 and plans to complete the next Five-Year Review in 2014.

Ground water monitoring will continue until contaminant levels meet site cleanup goals.

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Additional Information

EPA keeps additional site documents and information in a site information repository at the location below. EPA also posts site documents, when available, on EPA’s CERCLIS Site Profile page. For documents not available on the website, please contact the Region 4 Freedom of Information Office.

Site Repository

Franklin Degroodt Memorial Library
6475 Minton Road
Palm Bay, FL  32909

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