Waste Site Cleanup & Reuse in New England
History and Response Actions
The Beede Waste Oil Superfund Site (the Site) is located on Kelley Road in Plaistow in the southern part of New Hampshire. The 40-acre site is comprised of two parcels and is surrounded by primarily residential properties.
The Site was the location of several oil-related operations, including waste oil processing and re-sale, fuel oil sale, contaminated soil processing into cold-mix asphalt, anti-freeze recycling, and other related industries. These activities were reportedly conducted from the 1920's until operations ceased in August 1994. Properties in the surrounding residential neighborhood are served by individual water wells and septic systems. Kelley Brook, a tributary of the Little River, flows along the north and northeast edges of the site.
The following materials were abandoned when operations ceased in 1994: approximately 100 large above-ground storage tanks containing hazardous and non-hazardous oil product; several large piles of soil containing varying levels of contamination; and about 800 drums of oil product, some containing hazardous materials, which were stored in an open, roofed area. Polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) have been found in the oil product of many tanks and drums, at concentrations generally less than 50 parts per million (ppm) but as high as 1,800 ppm.
Groundwater sampling performed by the New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services (NHDES) in 1995 confirmed the presence of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) at levels which exceed drinking water standards in on-site monitoring wells and two private residential wells. Individual treatment units were supplied to provide potable water. The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and NHDES jointly conducted a Time Critical Removal Action from July 1996 to November 1997, which resulted in the removal of all abandoned tanks and drums. Soil piles were also covered with tarps at this time.
The Site was finalized on the Superfund National Priorities List (NPL) in December 1996, after a State-led Remedial Investigation, initiated in September 1996, confirmed the presence of several contaminants in soil and groundwater at levels dangerous to human health. The primary contaminants include PCBs, VOCs, polyaromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) and lead. Field sampling to determine the extent and severity of the contamination was completed in 1999.
EPA also initiated a Non-Time Critical Removal Action, which resulted in the installation of an interceptor trench to capture oil seeping into Kelley Brook in 1997, and the construction of a 143 well vapor-enhanced extraction system. The system began operating in February 2000, and has removed an estimated 90,000 gallons of contaminated oils that were floating on the groundwater surface. While the interceptor trench continues to capture oil, EPA decided to discontinue operating the vapor-enhanced extraction system in September 2005. (Please refer to Pollution Report (POLREP) 1, September 16, 2005 (PDF) (12 pp., 3.6MB, about PDF) for more information.) The oil recovery system greatly reduced a major source of groundwater contamination. Overall, the installation of three residential well treatment systems, covering of the soil piles, removal of tanks and drums, construction of a fence and installation of the recovery trench/extraction system have reduced the potential for threats to the public health and environment near the Beede Waste Oil site prior to the implementation of the final cleanup plan.
EPA and the State of New Hampshire completed field investigations and finalized a Remedial Investigation report in February 2001. In addition, a Feasibility Study report was completed in January 2002. The Feasibility Study report screened various technologies and evaluated remedial alternatives to deal with the excessive levels of contaminants as identified in the Remedial Investigation report. Six remedial alternatives were evaluated to address soil contamination and four were evaluated to address groundwater contamination. A recommended cleanup alternative was released for public review and comment as a Proposed Plan in June 2002.
After the close of the comment period, a cleanup remedy was selected and announced in a Record of Decision (ROD) (PDF) (195 pp, 2.5MB, about PDF), issued in January 2004. The ROD includes appendices that provide a detailed response to major comments received during the Proposed Plan comment period. The ROD details planned remedial actions at the site, including excavation and off-site treatment or disposal of contaminated Kelley Brook sediments, surface and subsurface soils to a depth of ten feet, treatment of soils at a depth below ten feet through an on-site soil vapor extraction system (possibly thermally enhanced), operating a groundwater pump and treatment system to cleanup contamination groundwater, and long-term monitoring of sediment, groundwater and surface water. Additionally, institutional controls are required to prevent consumption of groundwater during and prior to the conclusion of the full remedy, and to prevent exposure to soils more than ten feet below the ground surface. The remedy will ultimately restore the Beede site for both residential and recreational development.
EPA commenced a potentially responsible party (PRP) search to locate parties who contributed to the release of wastes from the site in the Fall of 1996. Information Request Letters were sent to over 7,400 potential generators beginning in 1997. PRPs fall into four broad categories: owners, operators, transporters, and generators.
In June 2001, EPA sent General Notice letters of potential liability to just over 2,000 PRPs, which included about 2,000 generators, about fifteen transporters and two current and former owner/operators. General Notice letter recipients have been identified as being potentially legally responsible under the Superfund Law for the release of hazardous waste at the site, and are expected to contribute to the costs associated with investigation and cleanup.
De Minimis Party Settlement Efforts
To date, EPA has completed four non-negotiable cashout settlement offers (three of them large-scale) with 1,199 eligible PRPs ('eligible' parties include those who responded to EPA's CERCLA Section 104(e) information request, if received) who contributed up to 20,000 gallons of hazardous waste to Beede, starting with the lower volume parties first, and working upward on EPA's volumetric ranking list. EPA's goal is to provide lower volume parties with an early opportunity to conclude their involvement with the Beede site while incurring minimal transaction costs and raising funds for cleanup, thereby reducing the overall burden on all parties involved with this Site.
More specifically, EPA offered an early de minimis party settlement opportunity to about 900 PRPs in June 2001, and collected $1.66 million from the 496 PRPs who chose to settle. EPA, jointly with the State of New Hampshire, offered a second de minimis settlement opportunity in June 2002 to about 1,000 parties, and collected $4.7 million from the 415 parties who chose to settle. About $100,000 of the funds collected from the second settlement went to the State of New Hampshire under the terms of the settlement. Following up ability-to-pay ("ATP") claims submitted in conjunction with the second de minimis settlement, a third de minimis settlement opportunity was offered in June 2003 to 17 PRPs who had fully submitted ATP claims in response to the second settlement offer. EPA collected approximately $45,000 from the 12 PRPs who accepted this settlement offer, and the State of New Hampshire received approximately $1,000 of these funds under the terms of the settlement. EPA, in conjunction with the State of New Hampshire, offered a fourth de minimis settlement opportunity to about 775 parties in May 2004. The fourth settlement, which became effective on December 6, 2004, collected $10.7 million from the 276 parties who chose to settle. The State of New Hampshire's share under the terms of the fourth settlement is approximately $220,000.
Future Negotiations with EPA
In September 2005, EPA issued an invitation to participate in negotiations for performance of the remedy (called remedial design/remedial action ("RD/RA") negotiations) selected in the January 2004 ROD. This invitation to participate in negotiations was issued to all parties identified by EPA as major generator parties (volume of 40,000 gallons or above), large de minimis generator parties (volume of 20,001 to 39,999 gallons), transporters and owners/operators. EPA has solicited a good faith offer for performance of the remedy set forth in the ROD (akin to "Special Notice") from these parties, and anticipates that negotiations will culminate in a final settlement agreement for the Site, memorialized in a consent decree. This group of larger volume PRPs, about 91 in total, must organize themselves into a representative group (led by an executive committee) for participation in RD/RA negotiations with EPA and New Hampshire.
Despite the large number of parties who have chosen to settle in one of four EPA early de minimis party settlement opportunities (1,199 parties in total), there are still several hundred parties who did not take advantage of one of these early opportunities to conclude their involvement at Beede. These non-settled smaller-volume generator parties (with waste volumes between 276 and 20,000 gallons) are expected to establish contact with representatives of the parties who will be participating directly in negotiations with EPA and New Hampshire in order to keep apprized of future opportunities for settlement. EPA issued an informational letter to these parties in September, 2005, which explains their status and the up-coming remedy negotiations/global settlement process at Beede. The larger volume parties may contact smaller volume generator parties directly to discuss settlement. EPA anticipates that the final settlement agreement at Beede referenced above will include an opportunity for these remaining de minimis parties to resolve their liability at the Site.
Since issuance of General Notice in 2001, EPA has offered several meetings for PRPs: some were required as part of the regulatory process, like the public meeting following release of the Proposed Plan, held on June 26, 2002 (refer to Proposed Plan, June 2002 (PDF) (16 pp, 660K, about PDF)); some were informational meetings expressly for parties being offered a de minimis settlement opportunity (July, 2001, June and July 2002, and June, 2004); and one was a large-scale introductory PRP informational meeting held by EPA and NHDES in July 2002 (see the Invitation and Information Regarding EPA’s Second De Minimis Settlement Offer. (PDF) (1 pg, 17K, about PDF)). EPA will consider holding additional PRP meetings, as appropriate. Such meeting(s) are likely to occur in conjunction with the Special Notice process. Please contact the Beede Hotline (firstname.lastname@example.org or 1-888-294-6980) for information about these meetings.