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Capitol City Plume


Court Street pump station in Montgomery (source: City of Montgomery)

Additional Resources
Site Summary Profile
EPA ID: AL0001058056
Location: Montgomery, Montgomery County, AL
Lat/Long: 32.382000, -086.306000
Congressional District: 07
NPL Status: Proposed 5/11/00
Affected Media: Ground water, Sediment, Sludge, Soil, Surface water
Cleanup Status: Proposed to the NPL - site investigation and study is underway
Human Exposure Under Control: Yes
Groundwater Migration Under Control: No
Sitewide Ready for Anticipated Use: No
Site Reuse/Redevelopment: In continued useredevelopment activities are also underway
Site Manager: Scott Miller (miller.scott@epa.gov)

Current Site Status

The Capitol City Plume site includes an area of ground water contamination near the City of Montgomery’s well field. EPA proposed the site for listing on the National Priorities List (NPL) in 2000 because of contaminated ground water and soil throughout the western downtown Montgomery area. EPA, the United States Geological Survey (USGS), the Alabama Department of Environmental Management (ADEM), the City of Montgomery and the site’s potentially responsible parties (PRPs) 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. A water line now connects residences and businesses to the public water supply. By conducting cleanup activities, EPA, the USGS, ADEM and the site’s PRPs continue to protect people and the environment from site contamination.

EPA is in the process of developing an approved cleanup plan (Record of Decision, or ROD) to address remaining site contaminants (substances that may cause harm to people and the environment). Both residents and businesses use the public water system for drinking water. Local residents living and working near the site are not currently threatened through the exposure to site contaminants via the drinking water system. However, soil vapor intrusion from former source areas and contaminated ground water has been verified as having taken place in buildings. EPA, the USGS, ADEM and the site’s PRPs continue to make sure residents and the environment are protected from site contamination through ongoing cleanup activities.

The City of Montgomery made a request to EPA to allow ADEM to take over Site lead responsibilities.  EPA responded to the City’s request in a letter dated detailing requirements for the Agency to undertake a formal Site deferral.  EPA approved the City’s Environmental Action Plan in May 2014.  EPA is working with ADEM and the City of Montgomery to complete a formal Site deferral by January 2015 after which time ADEM will lead Site cleanup efforts.

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Site Location and Background

The site is located in downtown Montgomery, Alabama. The site includes an area from Alabama Street to the south and Pollard Street to the north and from Court Street to the west to Union Street to the east. The site’s contaminated ground water plume is located underneath a portion of the western downtown area near the City of Montgomery’s well field. Much of the site area above ground remains in continued use. Redevelopment activities are also underway on other above-ground portions of the site.

In 1993, ADEM began investigating a report of soil contamination at the Retirement Systems of Alabama (RSA) Energy Plant site at the corner of Monroe Street and McDonough Street. ADEM identified six areas of ground water contamination.

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Threats and Contaminants

Site investigations found contamination in ground water, sediment, soil and surface water that could potentially harm people in the area. Contaminants of concern include tetrachloroethylene (also known as PCE or PERC), benzenetoluene, ethylbenzene and xylene (BTEX), and trichloroethylene (TCE). Soil sampling showed contamination below levels that would pose an unacceptable risk to people and the environment.

Additionally, EPA is conducting vapor intrusion sampling activities to make sure air quality at the site does not pose an unacceptable to human health and the environment.

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Investigation and Cleanup Responsibility / Oversight

EPA and the USGS lead site investigation and cleanup activities in cooperation with ADEM. EPA sent a general notice letter to several site PRPs informing them of their potential responsibilities at the site.

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Site Cleanup Plan

EPA anticipates that ADEM will issue a cleanup plan requiring Site responsible parties to conduct a cleanup.

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Cleanup Progress

In 1993, ADEM began investigating soil contamination at the RSA Energy Plant site at the corner of Monroe Street and McDonough Street. ADEM identified six plumes of ground water contamination. RSA dug up and disposed of contaminated soil.

EPA conducted fieldwork for the site’s remedial investigation/feasibility study from 2000 until 2003.

The City of Montgomery installed 16 monitoring wells and 16 temporary wells at the site. The City has also removed and plugged two shallow drinking water wells at the Court Street Pump Station. In 2006, the City began using monitoring wells to monitor ground water contamination.

EPA began an additional remedial investigation in 2008. Sampling identified where the contamination came from and when it occurred.

The City of Montgomery works with EPA to implement cleanup activities to help address the site’s contaminated ground water. In 2010, the City planted two acres of poplar trees. These trees take up and break down contaminants from shallow ground water.

In 2011, EPA and the USGS conducted field sampling activities to further delineate site ground water contamination as well as to assess the possible occurrence of vapor intrusion in a Montgomery County building.

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Enforcement Activities

EPA identified several site PRPs and continues to identify additional PRPs. EPA seeks to negotiate with PRPs to recover past site investigation costs and require that site PRPs fund current and future remedial actions at the site.

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Community Involvement

EPA has 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 has 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 have included public notices, interviews and information meetings.

Fact Sheets

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Future Work

Parties continue to investigate ground water and soil contamination.

EPA anticipates that ADEM will lead Site cleanup efforts and require responsilbe parties to conduct cleanup efforts.

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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

Main Branch Library
245 High St.
Montgomery, AL 36104

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