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US Finishing/Cone Mills

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US Finishing/Cone Mills facility prior to demolition

Additional Resources
Site Summary Profile
EPA ID: SCD003358744
Location: Greenville, Greenville County, SC
Lat/Long: 34.8846284, -82.4263000
Congressional District: 04
NPL Status: Proposed: 03/10/11; Final: 09/16/11
Affected Media: Surface water, Ground water, Sediment
Cleanup Status: Early Action Initiated/Completed; Study Underway
Human Exposure Under Control: EPA is working to determine
Groundwater Migration Under Control: There is insufficient data to determine
Sitewide Ready for Anticipated Use: No
Site Reuse/Redevelopment: None
Site Manager: Scott Martin (martin.scott@epa.gov)


Current Site Status

The US Finishing/Cone Mills site includes an area used for various manufacturing operations from 1903 until 2003. EPA placed the site on the National Priorities List (NPL) in 2011 because of contaminated surface water, ground water and sediment resulting from facility operations. EPA and the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (SCDHEC) have investigated site conditions and taken steps to clean up the site in order to protect people and the environment from contamination. The public water system provides water supplies to nearby residents and businesses. To EPA’s knowledge, contaminated ground water has not affected drinking water supplies.

EPA completed a short-term cleanup action to demolish facility buildings and secure the site in April 2012. EPA is also conducting an extensive investigation to fully assess site-related threats to people living near the site and the environment and to evaluate cleanup options. EPA selected this site as an Integrated Cleanup Initiative pilot project to demonstrate an innovative combination of management approaches and cleanup techniques.

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Site Location and Background

The site includes the US Finishing/Cone Mills property at 3555 Buncombe Road, three miles north of downtown Greenville, South Carolina. Surroundings include Langston Creek and Highway 253 to the east, a residential neighborhood to the west, Old Buncombe Road to the north and Reedy River to the south. The residential neighborhood includes low-income and minority residents. The site also includes other areas that US Finishing/Cone Mills used as part of its operations as well as areas impacted by the facility. These areas, surrounded mostly by residential and commercial areas, include:

Union Bleachery constructed the original US Finishing/Cone Mills facility in 1903 as a textile bleaching and finishing operation. In 1947, Union Bleachery sold the facility to Aspinook Corporation, which then became Cone Mills Operation in 1952. Cone Mills prepared and dyed grey goods and dyed other fabrics, including corduroy, denim and cotton-synthetic blends. American Fast Print purchased the facility in May 1984 and remains the property owner. American Fast Print operated the facility under the name US Finishing. The area of known contamination is about 14 acres. The facility shut down in 2003 after a fire. Several abandoned building/structures remained on the property.

In 2011, EPA listed the site on the NPL. EPA demolished remaining facility buildings as part of a short-term cleanup action. The community has expressed strong interest in reusing the facility.

View site location map.

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Threats and Contaminants

Site investigations identified contamination in surface water, ground water and sediment that could potentially harm people in the area. Contaminated areas include surface impoundments, surface and below-ground soil contamination, ground water underneath the facility property, and sediments in Langston Creek and the Reedy River. Contamination resulted from facility operations and waste handling practices at the site. Potential contaminants of concern include metals such as chromium.

The public water system provides water supplies to nearby residents and businesses. To EPA’s knowledge, contaminated ground water has not affected drinking water supplies.

The facility property is fenced and secured.

EPA is demolishing on-site buildings as part of a short-term cleanup action. See “Cleanup Progress” for more information.

EPA is also conducting a remedial investigation/feasibility study to fully assess site-related threats to people living near the site and the environment and to evaluate cleanup options. As part of this effort, EPA is currently evaluating any risks that may exist beyond the facility boundary. Once the demolition of the on-site buildings is complete, EPA will extensively investigate the facility property.

EPA will consider children’s health issues as part of the site’s risk assessment.

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Investigation and Cleanup Responsibility / Oversight

EPA leads site investigation and cleanup activities in cooperation with SCDHEC.

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Site Cleanup Plan

EPA is currently conducting the site’s remedial investigation/feasibility study. After completing the study, EPA will issue a proposed cleanup plan to address any contamination and related risk to people and the environment. After receiving input from SCDHEC and the community, EPA will issue the final cleanup plan (a Record of Decision, or ROD). After issuing the cleanup plan (the ROD), EPA will begin preparations to carry out the approved cleanup activities.

EPA selected this site as an Integrated Cleanup Initiative pilot project to demonstrate an innovative combination of management approaches and cleanup techniques. One of the early outcomes of this effort is the development of the US Finishing/Cone Mills Database Viewer, Exit Disclaimer which shares more than 30 years of data and summaries of actions taken. EPA is also using the viewer to share removal action work plans, real-time perimeter air monitoring and progress metrics. During the removal action EPA linked webcams thru the data viewer to allow real-time visual access to site activities such as demolition.

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Cleanup Progress

SCDHEC has overseen several facility closure activities, including installation of a ground water pump-and-treat system. The system operated from 1982 until 2003, when the facility burned down and the facility owner declared bankruptcy.

In October 2011, EPA began a short-term cleanup action to remove the burned-out buildings and install fencing to secure the site and discourage trespassing. This action was completed in April 2012.

EPA OSC.net provides more information Exit Disclaimer about EPA’s removal activities.

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Enforcement Activities

EPA conducted a PRP Search Report in March 2011.

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Community Involvement

EPA is working 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 is conducting 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, meetings and availability sessions.

As part of the Integrative Cleanup Initiative pilot project, EPA is committed to engaging the community and stakeholders early in project scoping meetings and decision-making, and transparently communicating progress and results.

In October 2011, EPA held a public availability session at Lakeview Middle School. EPA, the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry and SCDHEC presented information and provided handouts, including an innovative “community awareness site plan” map showing areas of the site to be avoided.

EPA intends to finalize the site’s community involvement plan in 2012.

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Future Work

EPA is continuing to conduct the site’s remedial investigation/feasibility study. Once completed, EPA will issue a proposed cleanup plan (a ROD) for the site.

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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

Hughes Main Library
25 Heritage Green Place
Greenville, SC  29601

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