Third Five-Year Review Completed, Fairfield Coal Gasification Plant Superfund Site, Fairfield, Jefferson County, Iowa
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency conducts regular five-year reviews on Superfund sites where cleanups have been completed. These reviews are required by the Superfund law [42 U.S.C. Section 9621 (c)]. EPA Region 7 and the Iowa Department of Natural Resources have completed the third five-year review of the Fairfield Coal Gasification Plant Superfund site in Fairfield, Jefferson County, Iowa.
The Fairfield Coal Gasification Plant manufactured blue gas from the late 1870s to mid-1937 and carbureted water gas from mid-1937 until 1950 when the Fairfield gas system was converted to natural gas. The site is presently used as an electrical substation.
The manufactured gas process created tar sludge and spent iron oxide.
Contaminants found in the soil and in the ground water included lead, mercury, chromium, arsenic, cyanide, benzene, ethyl benzene, toluene, xylene, and poly-nuclear aromatic hydrocarbons.
Three areas were identified as the source of the contamination: the gas holder pit area, the tar separator, and the relief gas holder area.
Following EPA guidelines, 1,150 cubic yards of contaminated soil and debris were dug up and trucked from the site for incineration.
In 1990 a system to recover and treat ground water was installed inside the operations building. The site was fenced to prevent contact with any on-site contaminants.
In 2001, the responsible party approached EPA with a revised ground water treatment plan. The original selected remedy was deemed no longer effective because of the hydrogeologic conditions at the site. A five-year study was implemented to determine if ground water was migrating off-site and if the contamination was being taken care of through natural processes. The results of the study as to natural processes are inconclusive but the plume appears to be stable and is not migrating off-site. Other possible remedial alternatives are currently being considered for ground water treatment.
The Five-Year Review
EPA and the Iowa Department of Natural Resources inspected the site and studied the records and reports concerning ground water monitoring, site operation, and site maintenance in addition to the previous five-year review reports. Fencing, warning signs, and deed restrictions are in place as a part of the remedy.
The remedy is expected to remain protective of human health and the environment upon attainment of ground water cleanup levels or as long as the plume remains contained on-site.
The five-year review report and the site Administrative Record are available at the following locations during normal business hours:
EPA Records Center
901 N. Fifth St.
Kansas City, Kan.
Fairfield Public Library
Court & Washington streets
Questions or requests for information can be submitted to:
Community Involvement Coordinator
EPA Region 7
901 N. Fifth St.
Kansas City, KS 66101
Toll free: (800) 223-0425