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Woolfolk Chemical Works, Inc.


Redevelopment at the Woolfolk Chemical Co. site includes a new public library, welcome center, and office space.
- Site Reuse Video

Additional Resources
Site Summary Profile
EPA ID: GAD003269578
Location: Fort Valley, Peach County, GA
Lat/Long: 32.549580, -083.884160
Congressional District: 02
NPL Status: Proposed: 06/24/88; Final: 08/30/90
Affected Media: Ground water, Soil, Sediment, Solid waste
Cleanup Status: Early Action Initiated/Completed and Construction Underway – some cleanup activities have been completed; other cleanup activities are underway
Human Exposure Under Control: Yes
Groundwater Migration Under Control: Yes
Sitewide Ready for Anticipated Use: No
Site Reuse/Redevelopment: In reuse – public facilities are located on portions of the site
Site Manager: Charles King (king.charlesl@epa.gov)

Current Site Status

The Woolfolk Chemical Works, Inc. site includes an area where, beginning in 1910, several companies produced, packaged and stored herbicides and pesticides. EPA placed the site on the National Priorities List (NPL) in 1990 because of contaminated ground water and soils resulting from facility operations. EPA, the Georgia Environmental Protection Division (Georgia EPD) and one of 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. By continuing to cleanup and monitor the site and undertaking Five-Year Reviews, EPA and Georgia EPD continue to protect people and the environment from site contamination.

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Site Location and Background

The 31-acre site is located in Fort Valley, Peach County, Georgia. The site includes the 18-acre former Woolfolk Chemical Works facility property together with surrounding areas where contamination has spread. Norfolk Southern Railroad tracks and a station are located in the northwest portion of the site. Commercial businesses and residential areas border the site. Residences are located west, south and east of the site. Commercial businesses and light industrial areas are located north, northwest and east of the site. Residential areas include low-income and minority residents.

Beginning in 1910 various companies used the Woolfolk Chemical Works facility for herbicide and pesticide production, packaging and storage. Production expanded after 1945 to include various organic pesticides. The earliest documented complaint associated with the site occurred in 1966 when a Georgia Water Quality Inspector investigated the site based on reports from local citizens that the facility discharged waste products to a ditch, which flowed into a nearby creek. In 1986, EPA began investigating the release or potential release of hazardous substances at the site. During that same year, one of the site’s PRPs initiated a cleanup that removed much of the contaminated soils and installed series of monitoring wells to study ground water contamination. Included in the cleanup was the demolition of a building heavily contaminated with arsenic and construction of a cap over the contaminated soils and building debris generated during the cleanup. However, the action did not address dioxin for which appropriate disposal technologies had not been developed and contamination above health-based levels remained in the soils, sediments, structures, offsite soils, and nearby residences. In 1990, EPA listed the site on the NPL. Currently, Peach County Public Library, a welcome center and an adult education center are located on portions of the site. The City of Fort Valley plans to reuse remaining portions of the site.

View site location map.

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Threats and Contaminants

Site investigations found contamination in ground water, soil, sediments, and attic dust of nearby residences that could potentially harm people in the area. Contamination resulted from waste handling practices at the site. Contaminants of concern include arsenic, lead, chromium, toxaphene, DDD, DDE, DDT, dieldrin, volatile organic compounds (VOCs), 1,2-dichloroethane (1,2-DCA) and hexachlorocyclohexane (HCH) (formally known as BHC, or benzene hexachloride).

While cleanup actions have addressed contamination in the soil, sediments, and the attic dust of nearby residences, ground water contamination remains at the site. The ground water contamination does not affect private wells and most businesses and residents use the public water supply. EPA continues to treat and monitor ground water.

EPA considered children’s health issues as part of the site’s risk assessment.

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Investigation and Cleanup Responsibility / Oversight

EPA identified several site PRPs; however only one PRP actively conducted any cleanup. This PRP initially led the site investigation and cleanup activities for contaminated ground water and contaminated soil on off-site properties designated for redevelopment. EPA and Georgia EPD provided oversight. In 1998, when EPA and the original PRP were unable to reach agreement to carry out the cleanup for another portion of the site, EPA ordered this PRP and the other PRPs to carry out the selected cleanup. At that time, the PRPs indicated that they could no longer fund site cleanup activities so EPA took over cleanup activities. EPA currently leads site activities in cooperation with Georgia EPD.

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Site Cleanup Plan

Site investigations and cleanup activities have focused on five areas, which EPA refers to as operable units, or OUs. These areas include:

In 1994, EPA issued a cleanup plan (a Record of Decision, or ROD) for OU-1. The plan included the following activities:

In 1994, EPA issued an Explanation of Significant Differences (ESD) for OU-1 to correct the estimated costs for ground water treatment.
In 1995, EPA issued a cleanup plan (a ROD) for OU-2. The plan included placing institutional controls on the site to restrict residential land use and use of ground water.

In 1998, EPA issued a cleanup plan (a ROD) for OU-3. The plan included the following activities:

In 2004, EPA issued an amendment to the cleanup plan (a ROD Amendment) for OU-3. The amended plan included the following activities:

In 2004, EPA issued a cleanup plan (a ROD) for OU-4. The plan included the following activities:

In 2009, EPA issued a second ESD for OU-3 to document the increase in the amount of contaminated soil identified, the increase in the area of the cap required to cover areas where waste would be left on site, and the increased costs associated with these changes.   

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

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Cleanup Progress

In 1986 and 1987, one of the site’s PRPs conducted interim soil cleanup activities. The PRPs demolished several buildings and dug up approximately 3,700 cubic yards of contaminated soil. The PRPs disposed of contaminated soil off site or disposed of it on site and installed a cap over the area of disposal.

From 1993 until 1997, the PRP removed contaminated soil and waste from 26 residential properties and the drainage corridor, cleaned up contaminated attic dust, and demolished a contaminated building.

The PRP also purchased 17 residential properties, demolished the properties, and converted the area into a public library, an adult education center and a welcome center. The PRP completed redevelopment construction and installation of a ground water pump-and-treat system in 1998. The PRP operated the system until 2003 when it ceased operation, citing lack of funds. EPA continues to operate the system.

In 1998, EPA took over cleanup activities at the site. Since then, EPA has dug-up over 500,000 cubic yards of contaminated material, paved (capped) areas of the site, and conducted site restoration activities.

In 2009, EPA presented Region 4’s “Excellence in Site Reuse” Award to the City of Fort Valley at a ceremony in Fort Valley.

Since issuing the 2009 ESD, EPA has continued cleanup activities at OU-3. These activities include digging-up additional contaminated soil, stabilizing and consolidating the soil on site or disposing of it offsite, and capping the area of disposal.   

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

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Enforcement Activities

EPA negotiated an agreement with one of the site’s PRPs to investigate and clean up the site. This PRP and the other PRPs were also required to contribute towards the costs of the cleanup by court order.  

In 1998, EPA took the lead at the site using federal funds for the cleanup. In addition, EPA used $1.8 million in funding available under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 to fund cleanup activities at the site.

RODs 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, interviews and public meetings.

When site cleanup activities began, a group of representatives from the City of Fort Valley, Peach County, the Fort Valley Utilities Commission and the Woolfolk Citizens Response Group as well as local citizens, businesses, and federal and state agencies formed the Alliance Group to provide a forum to discuss cleanup issues. The group initially met every six to eight weeks at the Fort Valley City Hall. In 2010, the group stopped meeting on a regular basis since the cleanup was nearing a close. At this time, the group meets as needed.

In 2010, EPA awarded the Alliance Group the Agency’s National Community Involvement Award. In 2011, Peach County and Houston County public health representatives who were members of the Alliance Group received EPA’s Notable Achievement Award for Outstanding Environmental Justice for their efforts at the site.

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Future Work

EPA is working to finalize the Remedial Action Report for cleanup activities at OU-3.

EPA continues to operate the site’s ground water pump-and-treat system. EPA is evaluating options to improve the effectiveness of the system.

EPA is conducting a remedial investigation for OU-5. Following completion of the remedial investigation, EPA will evaluate cleanup options. EPA will discuss the cleanup options in detail in the feasibility study and summarize them in a proposed cleanup plan, which will be offered for public comment.

EPA will document the selected remedy and the Agency’s justification for its selection in a final cleanup plan (ROD).

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

The Thomas Public Library
213 Persons Street
Fort Valley, GA 31030

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