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National Southwire Aluminum Co.

Photos/Multimedia

Cover over former slurry ponds at National Southwire Aluminum Company site.

Additional Resources
Site Summary Profile
EPA ID: KYD049062375
Location: Hawesville, Hancock County, KY
Lat/Long: 37.944990, -086.787770
Congressional District: 02
NPL Status: Proposed: 07/29/91; Final: 05/31/94
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 – commercial and industrial land uses are located on site
Site Manager: Michael Townsend (townsend.michael@epa.gov)


Current Site Status

The National Southwire Aluminum Co. site includes an active aluminum reduction facility that began operations in 1969. The EPA placed the site on the National Priorities List (NPL) in 1994 because of contaminated ground water and soil resulting from facility operations and waste handling practices. The EPA, the Kentucky Division of Waste Management (KDWM) and the Southwire Company (Southwire), the site’s potentially responsible party (PRP), investigated site conditions and took steps to clean up the site in order to protect people and the environment from contamination. In 2011, the EPA determined that the PRP had successfully completed all required cleanup actions. Site contamination does not currently threaten people working on or near the site. By maintaining institutional controls on the site property, and conducting operation and maintenance activities and required Five-Year Reviews, the EPA, KDWM and the site’s PRP continue to protect people and the environment from site contamination.

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Site Location and Background

The site is part of a larger 1,100-acre property on the west bank of the Ohio River northwest of Hawesville in Hancock County, Kentucky. The property includes the 475-acre site and surrounding agricultural land to the north, west and south. The Ohio River borders the site to the east. The cities of Cannelton and Tell City, Indiana, are located across the Ohio River from the site. The site includes several manufacturing and service buildings, three former waste disposal areas, one active wastewater area, three former landfills, a storage building for spent liners from carbon-lined metal pots, and a drainage ditch.

Southwire began operating the aluminum reduction facility on site in 1969. In 1994, the EPA listed the site on the NPL. In 2001, Southwire transferred ownership of the property. Century Aluminum of Kentucky, LLC currently owns the property. It continues to operate the aluminum reduction facility on site.

View site location map.

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Threats and Contaminants

Site investigations found contamination in ground water and soil that could potentially harm people in the area. Contamination resulted from facility operations and waste handling practices at the site. Contaminants of concern include cyanide, fluoride and polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs).

In 1985, the EPA found contamination in drinking water wells at and near the site. These wells serve over 16,000 people. The PRP addressed ground water contamination through ground water treatment. Ground water monitoring is ongoing.

The PRP has addressed soil contamination at the site. The PRP disposed of contaminated materials off site or placed contaminated materials under caps on site. Monitoring of the caps is ongoing.

In 2010, Hancock County recorded institutional controls in the form of environmental covenants for the site. Institutional controls restrict residential use of the site, use of ground water, disturbance of the soil and caps, and construction on portions of the site without prior approval of the EPA and KDWM.

Fencing and gates restrict access to the site.

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Investigation and Cleanup Responsibility / Oversight

Southwire, the site’s PRP, led site investigation and cleanup activities, with oversight provided by the EPA and KDWM.

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Site Cleanup Plan

Site investigations and cleanup activities have focused on two areas, which the EPA refers to as operable units, or OUs. These areas include OU-1: ground water contamination; and OU-2: five areas of soil contamination.

In 1993, the EPA issued an interim cleanup plan (an interim Record of Decision, or ROD) OU-1. The plan included:

In 2000, the EPA issued a final cleanup plan (ROD) for the site. The plan included:

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 1992 under KDWM supervision, the site’s PRP removed contaminated soil from the site. The PRP disposed of it at an EPA-approved hazardous waste facility.

In 1995, the PRP built the OU-1 pump-and-treat system and began ground water treatment. The PRP operated the system until 2010, after meeting ground water cleanup goals.

From 1995 to 1997, the PRP conducted a non-time critical removal action (NTCRA) to address contamination at a former waste disposal area. The PRP built a cap and cover system over the area.

The PRP began cleanup activities for OU-2 in 2007. The PRP dug up and removed contaminated soil. The PRP disposed of contaminated soil at an off-site facility or placed it under caps on site. Following construction of the caps, the PRP revegetated the capped areas. In 2008, the PRP completed cleanup of the site when cleanup requirements were met.

In 2008, the PRP fenced the site. In 2008 and 2011, the PRP placed warning signs to prevent digging in specific areas of the site.

The EPA conducted a final inspection at the site in 2011 and determined that the PRP had completed cleanup activities. The EPA completed a Final Close Out Report for the site.

The site’s third Five-Year Review, completed in 2011, found that cleanup requirements have been met. The cleanup continues to protect people and the environment.

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

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Enforcement Activities

The EPA negotiated legal agreements with the site’s PRP to investigate and clean up the site. The PRP continues to fund site monitoring and oversight activities.

RODs and Five-Year Reviews online provide information on specific legal agreements for the site.

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Community Involvement

The EPA 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.

The EPA 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 included public notices and meetings on cleanup progress and activities.

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Future Work

Operation and maintenance activities are ongoing.

The EPA completed the site’s last Five-Year Review in 2011. The EPA plans to complete the next Five-Year Review in 2016.

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Additional Information

The EPA keeps additional site documents and information in site information repositories at the locations below. The 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

Hancock County Public Library
P.O. Box 249, Court Street
Hawesville, KY 42348-4039

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