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Nocatee-Hull Creosote

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Aerial photo of Nocatee-Hull site.

Additional Resources
Site Summary Profile
EPA ID: FLD980709398
Location: Hull, De Soto County, FL
Lat/Long: 27.15900, -081.88000
Congressional District: 12
NPL Status: Superfund Alternative Approach Site (non NPL)
Affected Media: Ground water, soil, sediment
Cleanup Status: Cleanup activities are underway
Human Exposure Under Control: N/A
Groundwater Migration Under Control: N/A
Sitewide Ready for Anticipated Use: N/A
Site Reuse/Redevelopment: None
Site Manager: Jan Rogers (rogers.jan@epa.gov)


Current Site Status

The Nocatee-Hull Creosote site includes a former creosote treatment plant and nearby affected areas. EPA is addressing this site as a Superfund Alternative Approach site. Past operations contaminated soil, ground water and sediment. EPA, the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (FDEP) and the site’s potentially responsible party (PRP) have investigated site conditions and taken measures to address site contamination. EPA has issued a cleanup plan (a Record of Decision, or ROD) to address site contaminants (substances that could cause harm to people and the environment). These parties have taken these actions to ensure the safety of local residents and protect the environment from contamination. EPA, FDEP and the site’s PRP are currently preparing for the implementation of the site cleanup plan. The site's soil and ground water contamination is not a threat to nearby residents and businesses. A water line now connects most residences in the immediate vicinity of site contamination to the public water supply. Fencing prevents access to the site. EPA, FDEP and the PRP also continue to protect people and the environment from site contamination through additional steps that include ongoing ground water monitoring.

Site Location and Background

The site, the former location of a creosote wood treating plant, is located in a rural residential area in the small, unincorporated community of Hull in DeSoto County, Florida. The City of Arcadia is located a few miles to the northeast. The site covers three separate areas: the 38-acre former creosote wood treating plant area; a portion of the adjacent 35-acre Peace River floodplain area, which includes a borrow pit (a large area where soil has been dug up), stream and floodplain to the west; and a portion of a 45-acre rural residential area on the east side of Hull Avenue, referred to as the Oak Creek area. The area surrounding the site includes citrus groves to the north, east and south and wetlands to the west. Approximately 20 residences and two churches are also located in the area. Local residents are primarily low-income. The site’s PRP purchased and demolished several residences affected by site contamination as part of preparations for site cleanup activities. The community anticipates commercial growth in the area northeast of the site in the future.

The former creosote treatment plant operated from 1913 until 1952. Site operations included treatment of railroad ties using high-temperature liquid creosote. The PRP owns the former plant area and affected portions of the Peace River floodplain as well as the property parcels in the Oak Creek area, east of Hull Avenue, purchased in order to implement site cleanup activities.

View site location map.

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Threats and Contaminants

Since 1999, site investigations have identified contamination in ground water, soil and sediment resulting from facility operations. The main contaminants at the site include creosote-related polynuclear aromatic hydrocarbons, BTEX (benzene, toluene, ethylbenzene and xylene) and arsenic, as well as elevated levels of aluminum and iron, which are naturally occurring metals in Florida ground water. EPA and FDEP determined that concentrations of some of these contaminants in ground water, soil and sediment could cause harm to humans or the environment. EPA did not list the site on the National Priorities List; however, EPA considers the site to be NPL-caliber and is addressing the site through the Superfund Alternative Approach. This approach uses the same investigation and cleanup process and standards used for sites listed on the NPL.

Residents could contact site contamination primarily by consuming contaminated ground water. However, all known ground water contamination currently remains on property owned by the PRP. This property is fenced with posted warning signs. In the early 1980s, carbon filter systems were installed on two drinking water wells where monitoring detected site-related contamination. The PRP now owns those properties and properly abandoned those drinking water wells. More recently, the PRP extended a public water supply line into the area to replace the filter systems, working closely with the local water utility and nearby affected residents.

Today, the water line connects most residences in the immediate vicinity of site contamination to the public water supply. Residents in two homes with two deep aquifer wells have chosen to remain on well water; ground water monitoring has not identified any site contaminants in these wells since monitoring began in the late 1980s. Approximately 10 property parcels and five residences located on a private loop road (Tucker Drive/Magic Road) do not yet have access to the public water supply line, pending the resolution of easement issues. This area is located slightly upgradient (uphill) from the site’s contaminated ground water. In addition, temporary institutional controls on residential properties purchased by the PRP ensure that these properties will not be in use for residential purposes in the future.

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Investigation and Cleanup Responsibility / Oversight

The PRP leads site investigation and cleanup activities, with oversight by EPA and FDEP.

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Site Cleanup Plan

In 2009, EPA issued a cleanup plan (a Record of Decision, or ROD) for the site. The selected cleanup plan calls for: excavating (digging up) and consolidating contaminated soil within a slurry wall (a below-ground barrier wall surrounding subsurface contamination in the former treatment operations area) and cap system at the former plant area; cleaning up ground water located outside the slurry wall through biosparging (the process of using injection wells to break down ground water contamination using oxygen); and placing permanent institutional controls in the form of restrictive covenants on the former plant area and Peace River floodplain areas. These restrictions will limit residential uses, ground water use and soil excavation. EPA requires placement of temporary institutional controls on contaminated portions of the Oak Creek area until cleanup goals are met; the PRP owns the affected properties, which are currently vacant.

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Cleanup Progress

The PRP has extended a water line into the area, with most residences in the immediate vicinity of site contamination now connected to the public water supply. DeSoto County officials assumed ownership of the water line in 2008. The PRP has properly abandoned drinking water wells in the surficial (upper-level) aquifer near the contaminated ground water areas sampled regularly in the past.    

The PRP has also installed an automated recovery system in the former plant area to remove liquid creosote (referred to as a dense non-aqueous phase liquid, or DNAPL) identified in several on-site monitoring wells during the course of ongoing environmental investigations. After initial limited recovery of DNAPL, little-to-no additional DNAPL has moved into the recovery wells.

The PRP is currently preparing a Remedial Design Work Plan. This document will guide the implementation of the cleanup actions selected in the site’s 2009 ROD. Pre-remedial design work has also determined that it may be necessary to expand the eastern boundary of the site’s slurry wall. This possibility remains under consideration.

Enforcement Activities

Since 1983, the PRP has implemented several provisions of an FDEP Consent Order (a legally enforceable document between FDEP and the PRP formalizing an agreement), including fencing of the site, collection of monitoring data and removal of on-site structures and surficial site cleanup.

In 1999, the PRP entered into an Administrative Order on Consent (a legal agreement) with EPA to perform a streamlined remedial investigation / focused feasibility study for the site.

In 2010, EPA and the PRP signed a consent decree (a legal document signed by a judge formalizing an agreement) under which the PRP agreed to perform the remedial design/remedial action.

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Community Involvement

EPA has worked with its state partner and the community 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 at the site to solicit community input and to ensure that the public remains informed about site activities throughout the cleanup process. Outreach efforts have included public notices and information meetings on cleanup progress and activities.

EPA will schedule a public availability session to update the public after the Agency’s initial review and comment on the site’s draft Remedial Design Work Plan. EPA holds public availability sessions and meetings near the site to maximize the opportunity for community attendance.

EPA updated the site’s Community Involvement Plan (PDF) (37 pp, 2MB, About PDF) in 2010; the plan reflects input from local residents gathered in December 2009.

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Future Work

EPA estimates that site cleanup activities will take approximately 16 months once the Agency has approved the Remedial Design Work Plan. Cleanup activities approved in the 2009 ROD will begin after EPA approves the final remedial design. EPA anticipates that it will take 12 to 18 months to construct the slurry wall/cap system.

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Site Documents

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

DeSoto County Library
125 North Hillsborough Avenue
Arcadia, Florida 34266

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