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Fact Sheet

December 2009

Announcing the Availability of the Second Five-Year Review Report, Missouri Electric Works Superfund Site, Cape Girardeau, Cape Girardeau County, Missouri


The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) conducts regular five-year checkups, called five-year reviews, on Superfund sites where cleanups have been completed. These regular five-year reviews are required by the Superfund law [42 U.S.C. Section 9621(c)] to make sure the site remains the same and the cleanup actions continue to protect public health and the environment.

Before remedial actions began, the site posed a potential threat to public health through:


Missouri Electric Works, Inc. (MEW) operated a motor and transformer salvage, repair, and sales operation at the site from 1954 until 1992. PCB contaminated oils and other fluids from the transformers being recycled, were disposed on site.

EPA discovered the PCB contamination of site soils in 1984. Investigation into the nature and extent of the soil contamination between 1984 and 1990 led to the discovery of the ground water contamination. In 1988, MEW was ordered to stop accepting oil-filled equipment with PCB contamination and to install barriers that would stop PCBs moving from the site by way of storm water runoff.

In 1988, a group of potentially responsible parties (PRPs), acting under an Administrative Order on Consent (AOC), performed the final soil investigations. A high PCB level in the soil was confirmed. PCBs and chlorobenzene were later detected in the ground water.

A 1990 Record of Decision (ROD), followed by an Explanation of Significant Differences in 1995, allowed for the on-site thermal treatment of contaminated soils (including both thermal destruction and thermal desorption). Another ROD completed in 1995, included a Technical Impracticability Waiver addressing the deep migration of PCBs and solvents in bedrock ground water which cannot feasibly be remediated. The soil cleanup began in 1999 and was completed in 2000. The Ground Water Remedial Investigation/Feasibility Study was completed in 2004 and the long-term monitoring continues.

Additional assessment of the wetlands area and the risks to its animal and plant life is ongoing. Human exposure was addressed in the wetlands area in 2007, with the construction of a fence to prevent access and the posting of warning signs in response to the detection of PCBs in all the fish sampled.  
First Five-Year Review

The First Five-Year Review in 2004 concluded the soil remedy is protective of human health and the environment. These additional recommendations were made:

This Five-Year Review

This Second Five-Year Review included two site inspections to evaluate current site conditions.  No significant changes to the site were observed. It was determined that the soil remedy is still protective of human health and the environment. The ground water remedy selected in 2005, consists of monitoring, institutional controls, and monitored natural attenuation. These remedies have not yet been implemented. In the interim, exposure pathways that could result in unacceptable risks are being controlled. The ground water remedy is expected to be protective of human health and the environment once completed. The wetlands remedy has not yet been selected. Recommendations were made in this five-year review:

Additional Information

The final report, approved August 14, 2009, was prepared and is available at the site information repositories and the EPA Region 7 website at: www.epa.gov/superfund/sites/fiveyear/f2009070002989.pdf (PDF) (37 pp, 2MB, About PDF)

Detailed site information can be found in the Missouri Electric Works Administrative Record, at the following locations, during normal business hours:

Cape Girardeau Public Library
711 N. Clark St.
Cape Girardeau, Mo.

EPA Records Center
901 N. Fifth St.
Kansas City, Kan.

Questions or requests for information can be submitted to:
Fritz Hirter
Community Involvement Coordinator
U.S. EPA Region 7 -- 901 N. Fifth St.
Kansas City, KS 66101
Toll free: (800) 223-0425
E-mail: hirter.fritz@epa.gov

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