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Horton Iron & Metal

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Photo Showing Silt Fences on Horton Site.

Additional Resources
Site Summary Profile
EPA ID: NCO 000 407 480
Location: 2216 US Highway 421 North, Wilmington, New Hanover County, NC
Lat/Long: 34° 16' 5", 77" 55' 14"
Congressional District: 07
NPL Status: Proposed to the NPL : 10/21/2010;Final 9/16/2011
Affected Media: Sediment, Soil, Groundwater
Cleanup Status: Site Cleanup Planned
Site Reuse/Redevelopment: None
Site Manager: Pete Thorpe (thorpe.peter@epa.gov)


Current Site Status

Horton Iron and Metal (“Site”) is the location of a former fertilizer manufacturing and ship breaking site.  United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) placed the site on the National Priorities List (NPL) in 2011 because of contaminated soils, sediments and groundwater from past industrial operations at the site.  EPA and the North Carolina Department of Environment and Natural Resources (NC DENR) have investigated the site conditions.  The site installed a gate to prevent possible worker exposure and a silt fence to prevent further soil erosion from migrating into the river and onsite ship slips. Once this investigation is completed, EPA will issue a cleanup plan (a Record of Decision, or ROD) to address all remaining contamination.  EPA continues to update residents about the site by issuing fact sheets in English and Spanish and related information about the progress of the site investigation.

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Site Location and Background

The Horton Iron & Metal Site is located at 2216 U.S. Highway 421 North in Wilmington, New Hanover County, NC.  The Site is bordered to the north by the VC Chemical – Almont Works Site, to the south by Sigma Recycling and to the west by Highway 421. Currently, the primary focus of the investigation is the portion of the site east of the railroad tracks.  The Site occupies a total of 42.1 acres.

The site is currently operated as a metal recycling facility employing 18 people.  The Site property is currently owned by Horton Iron and Metal Company and Mrs. Josephine Horton.  American Agriculture Chemical Company (AACC) owned and operated the Site as a fertilizer facility from approximately 1911-1949.  Conoco Phillips Company is a successor corporation to AACC.  Phillips 66 is now the successor corporation to Conoco Phillips. 

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Threats and Contaminants

From 1911 – 1949, during the fertilizer operations at the Site, acid chambers utilized in the process were typically lead-lined, which can contribute to high concentrations of lead in the soil.  From 1962 – 1972, Horton operated a ship recycling operation at the facility.  The Site is currently a metal recycling facility.  Samples collected from soils and groundwater detected metals, violate organic compounds (VOCs), semi-violate organic compounds (SVOCs), pesticides, and PCBs.  Due to the high levels of contamination found on the Site, the State of North Carolina recommended the Site for further action under the Comprehensive, Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act (CERCLA).  EPA has documented the threatened release of hazardous substances, pollutants or contaminants at the Site.

 

Investigation and Cleanup Responsibility/Oversight

Site PRPs lead site investigation and cleanup activities, with oversight provided by EPA and NC DENR.

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Site Cleanup Plan

The contaminants were characterized during the remedial investigation (RI).  The RI was finalized in February 2014.  The Feasibility Study is in progress.  The FS is the mechanism for the development, screening, and detailed evaluation of alternative remedial actions.

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Cleanup Progress

 

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Enforcement Activities

In 1988, the U.S. Coast Guard found extensive oil staining around metal crushing equipment on the Horton property.  A notice of violation was issued to Horton in 1989, ordering clean up of the contaminated soils and a determination of whether ground water at the facility was contaminated.  In 2003, the North Carolina Department of Environment and Natural Resources conducted surface and subsurface soil, ground water, surface water, and sediment sampling throughout the Horton property and in the adjacent Northeast Cape Fear River.

To prevent worker exposure and prevent the continued migration of contaminants into the slips and river, the site had a gate installed to prevent possible worker exposure and a silt fence was installed to prevent further soil erosion from migrating into the ship slips onsite.

EPA negotiated legal agreements with site PRPs to investigate and clean up the site. The PRPs continue to fund site cleanup, monitoring and oversight activities.

Community Involvement

EPA has started the community involvement activities at the Horton Iron & Metal to solicit community input and to ensure that the public remains informed about site activities throughout the NPL cleanup process.  The first public availability session was held at the New Hanover County Public Library on September 8, 2010.  A second public availability session was held at the New Hanover County Public Library on August 18, 2011.  The EPA will continue to hold public meeting and mail out fact sheets in English and Spanish to the local community.

Fact Sheet
  • Horton Iron & Metal Site Community Information Update, August 2011(PDF) (4 pp, 1.26MB, About PDF)
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    Future Work

    The feasibility study report is in progress and will be finished by the end of 2014. After the remedial investigation and feasibility study report is completed, EPA will issue a cleanup plan (ROD) to address remaining waste material.

    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.

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    Site Administrative Documents

    Site Repository

    For more information or to view any site-related documents, please visit the site information repository at the following location. As new documents are generated, they will be placed in the information repository for public information.

    New Hanover County Public Library
    201 Chestnut Street 
    Wilmington, NC 28401

    Administrative Record Index

    For documents not available on the website, please contact the Region 4 Freedom of Information Office.

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