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Piper Aircraft Corp./Vero Beach Water and Sewer Dept.


Ground water treatment system on Piper Aircraft site.

Additional Resources
Site Summary Profile

EPA ID: FLD004054284
Location: Vero Beach, Indian River County, FL
Lat/Long: 27.647490, -080.415550
Congressional District: 15
NPL Status: Proposed: 06/10/86; Final: 02/21/90
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: Yes
Site Reuse/Redevelopment: Continued Industrial Use - The facility continues to manufacture small commuter and business airplanes.
Site Manager: Samantha Urquhart-Foster (urquhart-foster.samantha@epa.gov)

Current Site Status

The Piper Aircraft Corp./Vero Beach Water & Sewer Department site includes the area where Piper Aircraft began manufacturing airplanes and storing chemicals used in the manufacturing process in 1975. EPA placed the site on the National Priorities List (NPL) in 1990 because of contaminated ground water resulting from facility operations. EPA, the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (FDEP) and Piper Aircraft, the site’s PRP, 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 connects residences and businesses near the site to the public water supply. By treating and monitoring ground water, placing institutional controls on the site property and undertaking Five-Year Reviews, EPA, FDEP and the site’s PRP continue to protect people and the environment from site contamination.

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Site Location and Background

The 80-acre site is located at 2926 Piper Road in Vero Beach in east-central Florida, approximately five miles from the Atlantic Ocean. The site is located immediately south of Vero Beach Municipal Airport. Commercial and industrial land uses border the site and residential areas are located nearby. The site includes buildings used for primary manufacturing of general aviation aircraft, aircraft parts, assembly, upholstery, tooling, painting, parts, storage, training and administration. The facility began manufacturing small commuter and business airplanes and storing chemicals used in the assembly process in an on-site underground storage tank in 1975. In 1990, EPA listed the site on the NPL. Manufacturing operations at the facility are ongoing. Land use at the site is not expected to change in the near future.

View site location map.

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Threats and Contaminants

Site investigations found contamination in ground water that could potentially harm people in the area. Contamination resulted from leaks in the site’s underground storage tank. Contaminants of concern include trichloroethylene (TCE) and its breakdown products.

Contamination affected ground water on site and extended beyond the site’s boundary. Contamination affected a municipal well located across the street from the southern portion of the site. The City of Vero Beach discontinued use of the well and a water line connects residences and businesses near the site to the public water supply. The site’s PRP identified contamination in soil surrounding and beneath the underground storage tank. The PRP removed the contaminated soil and it is therefore no longer a threat.

In addition, the St. John’s River Water Management District has listed the site and nearby surrounding area as a ground water delineation area, which means all wells placed in the area require the District’s approval.

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Investigation and Cleanup Responsibility / Oversight

Piper Aircraft, the site’s PRP, leads site investigation and cleanup activities, with oversight provided by EPA and FDEP.

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Site Cleanup Plan

In 1993, EPA issued a cleanup plan (a Record of Decision, or ROD) for the site. The plan included the following activities:

In 2009, EPA issued an Explanation of Significant Differences (ESD) to include institutional controls in the form of a ground water delineation area as part of ground water cleanup activities at the site. The ESD also incorporated modifications to the ground water treatment system.

Summaries of site cleanup approaches are also available online in key site cleanup documents, including the ROD and ESD.

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Cleanup Progress

In 1979, the City of Vero Beach and the site’s PRP installed a ground water pump-and-treat system to address ground water contamination.

In 1989, the PRP removed the underground storage tank and dug up the contaminated soil surrounding and beneath the tank.

The PRP installed and began operating a new ground water extraction and treatment system in 1998.

The site’s third Five-Year Review, completed in 2009, found that the ground water treatment system and ground water monitoring are functioning as required to achieve ground water cleanup levels. The Five-Year Review recommended that EPA assess whether residents or workers might be at risk from harmful ground water vapors in buildings due to vapor intrusion.

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

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Enforcement Activities

EPA negotiated legal agreements with the site’s PRP to investigate and clean up the site. The PRP continues to fund site cleanup, monitoring and oversight activities.

The ROD, ESD and Five-Year Reviews online provide additional information on specific legal agreements for 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 and interviews.

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Future Work

Ground water treatment and monitoring are ongoing.

EPA, FDEP and the PRP are conducting a study using living organisms to break down contaminants to determine faster and more effective cleanup activities to address ground water contamination.

EPA completed the last Five-Year Review in 2009 and plans to complete the next Five-Year Review in 2014.

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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

Indian River County Main Library
1600 21st Street
Vero Beach, FL 32960

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