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Koppers Company, Inc. (Morrisville Plant)

Photos/Multimedia

Western perimeter of the former Fire Pond at the Koppers Company, Inc. (Morrisville Plant) site.

Additional Resources
Site Summary Profile
EPA ID: NCD003200383
Location: Morrisville, Wake County, NC
Lat/Long: 35.846300, -078.840600
Congressional District: 04
NPL Status: Proposed: 06/24/88; Final: 03/31/89
Affected Media: Ground water, Soil, Surface 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: No
Site Reuse/Redevelopment: In continued use – a wood processing facility operates on a portion of the site; the rest of the site is not in use
Site Manager: Beverly Stepter (stepter.beverly@epa.gov)


Current Site Status

The Koppers Co., Inc. (Morrisville Plant) site includes the area where a wood treating facility operated from 1968 to 1975. EPA placed the site on the National Priorities List (NPL) in 1989 because of contaminated ground water, soil and surface water resulting from facility operations. EPA, the North Carolina Department of Environment and Natural Resources (NCDENR), and Beazer East, Inc., 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. A water line connects nearby residences and businesses to the public water supply. By treating ground water, evaluating additional cleanup activities and undertaking Five-Year Reviews, EPA, NCDENR and the site’s PRP continue to protect people and the environment from site contamination.

Site Location and Background

The site is located on State Route 54 (Chapel Hill Road), one mile northwest of Morrisville, Wake County, North Carolina. The site includes four areas: the 33-acre Unit Structures, Inc. property, the 17-acre Beazer East, Inc. property, the 5-acre Medlin Pond area and the 4.5-acre Seagondollar area. In 1997, EPA deleted the Unit Structures, Inc. property area from the NPL. A wood processing facility currently operates on the Unit Structures, Inc. property. The Beazer East, Inc. property includes a former wood preserving process area, two former wastewater lagoons and a 3-acre manmade fire pond. Fencing surrounds the property area and gates control access. The Medlin Pond area is located across McCrimmon Parkway from the manmade fire pond. The Seagondollar area is located 2.5 miles west of the Unit Structures, Inc. and Beazer East, Inc. properties and includes a wetlands mitigation area owned by the Brian Seagondollar family. Residences border the site to the north. Residences and industrial land use border the site to the south. Church Street and a residential area border the site to the west. State Route 54 (Chapel Hill Road) borders the site to the east.

From 1968 to 1975, Koppers Company, Inc. operated a wood treating facility at the site. Operations produced wastewater, which the company treated before its release into on-site lagoons. In 1975, the company demolished the treatment facility. In 1977, the company closed the on-site lagoons and sprayed the wastewater over two fields on site.

Land uses in the area include residential and industrial.

View site location map.

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Threats and Contaminants

Site investigations found contamination in ground water, soil and surface water that could potentially harm people in the area. Contamination resulted from waste handling practices at the site. Contaminants of concern include pentachlorophenol, 2,4-dichlorophenol and dioxins.

The site's PRP has addressed contamination in soil and surface water. The site can support commercial and industrial land uses.

Ground water contamination remains on site and off site. EPA does not consider ground water contamination a threat because the PRP connected nearby residences and businesses to the public water supply.

EPA assessed whether residents or workers might be at risk from harmful ground water vapors in buildings. EPA found that vapor intrusion did not pose a threat to residents and workers.

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Investigation and Cleanup Responsibility / Oversight

Beazer East, Inc., the site’s PRP, leads site investigation and cleanup activities, with oversight provided by EPA and NCDENR.

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Site Cleanup Plan

In 1992, EPA issued a cleanup plan (a Record of Decision, or ROD) for the site. The plan included the following activities:

Summaries of site cleanup approaches are also available online in key site cleanup documents, including the ROD.

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Cleanup Progress

In 1980 and 1986, the site’s PRP removed 1,500 cubic yards of contaminated soil from the former lagoons and disposed of it at an off-site facility.

In 1989, the PRP installed three miles of water lines, connecting residences near the site to the public water supply.

In 1995 and 1996, the PRP dug up 775 tons of contaminated soil and incinerated it at an off-site facility, backfilled and reseeded the dug-up areas, dewatered and backfilled the on-site ponds with clean soil, and implemented the wetlands mitigation.

In 1996, the PRP constructed and began operation of the ground water pump-and-treat system.

The PRP completed site cleanup activities and EPA deleted the Unit Structures, Inc. property from the NPL in 1997.

The site’s second Five-Year Review, completed in 2007, found that the cleanup continues to protect people and the environment. The Five-Year Review also recommended evaluating the need for additional cleanup activities.

In 2010, the PRP conducted a pilot study to evaluate alternative approaches to address ground water contamination. The PRP found an additional source area of contamination during the pilot study.

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

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Enforcement Activities

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

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

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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, interviews and information meetings.

EPA also provided a Technical Assistance Grant (TAG) to support a community group’s activities at the site in the mid-1990s. EPA transported approximately 100 residents to the site to view soil cleanup activities. The group no longer meets. EPA plans to send fact sheets to the local community after the Agency issues an Explanation of Significant Differences (ESD) for the site.

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Future Work

The site’s ground water pump-and-treat system continues to operate.

EPA plans to issue an ESD to change cleanup activities for ground water contamination and to explain the approach used to address additional source contamination.

EPA completed the last Five-Year Review in 2007 and plans to complete the next Five-Year Review in 2012.

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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

Wake County Public Library
310 S. Academy
Cary, NC 27511

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