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American Creosote Works (Jackson Plant)

Photos/Multimedia

View of the American Creosote Works (Jackson Plant) site looking north.

Additional Resources
Site Summary Profile
EPA ID: TND007018799
Location: Jackson, Madison County, TN
Lat/Long: 35.610000, -088.835500
Congressional District: 08
NPL Status: Proposed: 10/15/84; Final: 06/10/86
Affected Media: Buildings/Structures, Liquid Waste, Sludge, Soil
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: Site is in industrial use – equipment is stored on site
Site Manager: Brad Jackson (jackson.brad@epa.gov)


Current Status

The American Creosote Works, Inc. (Jackson Plant) site includes an area where a wood treating facility operated from the early 1930s until late 1981. EPA placed the site on the National Priorities List (NPL) in 1986 because of contaminated buildings/structures, liquid waste, sludge, soil and ground water resulting from facility operations. EPA and the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation (TDEC) 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. By monitoring ground water, implementing institutional controls and undertaking Five-Year Reviews, EPA and TDEC continue to protect people and the environment from site contamination.

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Site Location and Background

The 60-acre site is located immediately southwest of downtown Jackson, Tennessee. The site includes numerous lagoons and other low-lying areas. The Seaboard Railroad borders the site to the south, the Forked Deer River borders the site to the southwest, Central Creek borders the site to the north and west and industrial land use borders the site to the east. The site’s broader surroundings include industrial, commercial and residential land uses. Several public and private wells are located within a three-mile radius of the site, including a city well field less than two miles east of the site.

From the early 1930s until 1981, a wood treating facility operated at the site. Operations included discharging untreated process wastewater directly into the south fork of the Forked Deer River until 1973, when the operation built a levee around the facility to contain wastewater and surface water runoff. During construction, operations stored process water and sludge in pits on site that often overflowed into the main process area and the river during heavy rains and flooding. In 1974, the facility installed a wastewater treatment system. In 1986, EPA listed the site on the NPL.

The site can support industrial land uses. In 2004, Jackson Energy Authority acquired the site property and currently uses it for equipment storage. Fencing surrounds the site to control access.

View site location map.

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Threats and Contaminants

Site investigations found contamination in buildings/structures, liquid waste, sludge, soil and ground water that could potentially harm people in the area. Contamination resulted from facility operations and waste handling practices at the site. Contaminants of concern identified include volatile organic compounds (VOCs)polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) and heavy metals.

Contamination affected ground water and spread off site. However, contamination has not affected private or public water supply wells. Surface water and sediments sampled from the Forked Deer River in 2004 and 2005 showed no evidence that contamination had affected surface water or sediment.

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

TDEC leads site investigation and cleanup activities, with oversight provided by EPA.

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Site Cleanup Plan

Site investigations and cleanup activities have focused on two areas, which EPA refers to as operable units, or OUs. These areas include OU-1: cleanup focused on protecting surface water, discouraging trespassing and preventing accidental exposure to contaminated soil; and OU-2: cleanup focused on contaminated soil and ground water, surface water and sediment monitoring.

In 1989, EPA issued a cleanup plan (a Records of Decision, or ROD) for OU-1. The plan included the following activities:

In 1989, EPA issued a cleanup plan (a ROD) for OU-2. The plan included the following activities:

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

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Cleanup Progress

In 1983, EPA conducted short-term cleanup activities to treat and dispose of wastewater and to remove, treat and bury sludge under a clay cap in a former lagoon area.

EPA conducted cleanup activities for OU-1 between 1989 and 1991. The Agency completed construction of the flood protection levee and began operating the levee in 1989. EPA upgraded and improved the levee in 1990. Cleanup activities also included collecting tanked liquid waste and sludge, treating the waste and sludge on site and incinerating the treated material off site. EPA demolished, dismantled and salvaged buildings, tanks, railroad lines, railroad ties and other plant equipment on site. In 1991, EPA installed a fence around the site property.

EPA began cleanup activities for OU-2 in 1996. Cleanup activities included removing, demolishing, dismantling, treating and burying site structures on site and draining and disposing of liquid waste and water off site. EPA also dug up and treated contaminated soil and then backfilled the dug-up area and capped the soil. Following capping, EPA covered the cap with clean soil, graded the area and seeded it with grass.

In 2004, the Jackson Energy Authority acquired the site and began using it for industrial purposes, including equipment storage.

The site’s third Five-Year Review, completed in 2009, found that the cleanup remains protective of human health and the environment.

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

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Enforcement Activities

Starting in 1981, TDEC used state funds for site cleanup activities.

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

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Community Involvement

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.

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, interviews and information meetings.

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Future Work

TDEC continues to visit the site and work closely with property owners when any physical changes are proposed at the site.

Based on the review of continued groundwater monitoring, it appears that there are areas of the site that still have elevated levels of groundwater contaminants and non-aqueous phase liquids (NAPL).  Additional work may be needed to complete the cleanup of the site.  An OU-3 is being planned to investigate the extent of groundwater contamination and NAPL.  The additional work will also investigate potential impacts of the Central Creek sediments and adjacent flood plains by former site discharges.

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

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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

Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation
1625 Hollywood Drive
Jackson, TN 38305

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