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Miami Drum Services


Air stripping towers at Miami Drum Services site

Additional Resources
Site Summary Profile
EPA ID: FLD076027820
Location: Hialeah, Dade County, FL
Lat/Long: 25.837210, -080.313060
Congressional District: 21
NPL Status: Proposed: 12/30/82; Final: 09/08/83
Affected Media: Ground water
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: Train maintenance yard for the Miami Transit Authority's light rail system
Site Manager: James Hou (hou.james@epa.gov)

Current Site Status

The Miami Drum Services site includes the area where the Miami Drum Services company cleaned and recycled drums from 1966 until 1981. EPA placed the site on the National Priorities List (NPL) in 1983 because of contaminated soil and ground water resulting from facility operations. EPA, the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (FDEP) and Miami-Dade County 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 treating and monitoring ground water and conducting required Five-Year Reviews, EPA, FDEP and Miami-Dade County continue to protect people and the environment from site contamination. Miami Transit Authority has continuously used the site as a train maintenance yard since 1982.

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Site Location and Background

The site is located at 6601 NW 72nd Avenue in northwest Miami-Dade County, about two miles north of Miami International Airport. The site covers 1.2 acres and is now wholly contained within an 82-acre parcel owned by the Miami-Dade County Transit Authority. The 82-acre parcel is the location of the William Lehman Operations and Maintenance Center, a major train repair facility for Miami-Dade County's aboveground electric rail system. The site is located in a commercial and industrial area of Hialeah. Several other communities surround the site, including Miami Springs, Medley, Hialeah Gardens, Pinewood Park and Miami.

Between 1966 and 1981, Miami Drum Services cleaned and recycled drums at the site. In 1981, the county forced the facility to shut down. Since 1982, the Miami Transit Authority has continuously used the site as a train maintenance yard. Currently, the site is partially asphalt-paved and partially covered with gravel roads. The site also includes partially uncovered land bisected by train tracks. In 1983, EPA listed the site on the NPL.

View site location map.

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Threats and Contaminants

Site investigations identified contamination in soil and ground water that could potentially harm people in the area. Contamination resulted from poor waste handling practices by the drum recycling facility. Contaminants of concern in soil included metals, pesticides and organic solvents. Dade County addressed threats from contaminated soil by digging up contaminated soil and disposing of it at an off-site hazardous waste facility. EPA is evaluating the use of institutional controls to restrict redevelopment of the site to appropriate future uses, since some contaminants remain in soil at levels that do not permit residential uses. The site area within the Transit Authority maintenance yard is fenced and secured.

Contaminants of concern in ground water include volatile organic compounds. Ground water contamination at the site commingled with contamination from two nearby Superfund sites: the Varsol Spill and Northwest 58th Street Landfill sites. Referred to collectively as the Biscayne Aquifer sites, these three sites have contributed to widespread ground water contamination in the Biscayne Aquifer –the only source of drinking water for several counties, including Miami-Dade County. The contamination was significant enough to cause the shutdown of several well fields, including the well fields at the Preston and Hialeah water treatment plants. The ground water treatment system remains operational and meets the daily drinking water demands of almost one million people in northern Miami-Dade County.

In 1992, the county installed air stripping towers at the Preston and Hialeah water treatment plants. Since that time, the towers have treated over 600,000 gallons of contaminated ground water. As a result, the county has placed the previously impacted Preston and Hialeah well fields back into service. Since operation of the air stripping towers started, the area of contaminated ground water has reduced in size. The most recent data indicates that affected ground water meets cleanup goals for most contaminants. The Miami-Dade Water and Sewer Department will continue to operate the treatment system until ground water meets all cleanup goals.

Institutional controls are in place on the site to prevent people drinking contaminated ground water.  

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Investigation and Cleanup Responsibility / Oversight

The county built the air stripping towers with oversight provided by the Army Corps of Engineers and EPA. The Miami-Dade Water and Sewer Department is responsible for the operation and maintenance of the air stripping towers at the Preston and Hialeah water treatment plants. EPA continues to provide oversight in cooperation with FDEP.

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Site Cleanup Plan

In 1981, the county began cleaning up contaminated soil as part of a removal action.

In 1982, EPA issued a cleanup plan (a Record of Decision or ROD) clarifying that the 1981 removal action served as the main cleanup approach for contaminated soils at the site. See “Cleanup Progress” below for more details.

In 1985, EPA issued a cleanup plan (a ROD) to address ground water contamination from the three Biscayne Aquifer Superfund sites and to protect the regional water supply. The cleanup approach included using the Hialeah and Preston municipal well fields to pump and treat contaminated ground water using air strippers and granular activated carbon. The cleanup plan also included institutional controls (i.e., existing local ground water well ordinances) and recommended that the county carry out a preventive action program called the Biscayne Aquifer Protection Plan.

Summaries of site cleanup approaches are also available online in key site cleanup documents, including the RODs and Five-Year Reviews.

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Cleanup Progress

The county completed the removal of contaminated soil in 1982. The county dug up 15,000 tons of contaminated soil and debris and disposed of it at an off-site hazardous waste facility.

In 1992, air stripping towers at the Preston and Hialeah water treatment plants began operating. Since 1992, the air stripping towers have treated over 600,000 gallons of contaminated ground water.

The site’s second Five-Year Review, completed in 2008, found that the site’s cleanup approach continues to protect people and the environment from remaining site contamination.

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

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Enforcement Activities

In 1981, the county forced the drum recycling facility to close down due to operating permit violations.

In 1988, EPA signed a Cooperative Agreement with the Miami-Dade Water and Sewer Department to carry out the ground water cleanup approach.

Currently, the county funds the operation of the air strippers that treat site ground water, while EPA funds the site’s Five-Year Reviews.

RODs and Five-Year Reviews online provide 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 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.

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Future Work

Annual ground water monitoring has been ongoing since 1988.

EPA completed the last Five-Year Review in 2008 and plans to complete the next Five-Year Review in 2013.

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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

Miami-Dade County Public Library
101 West Flagler Street
Miami, FL  33128

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