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Picayune Wood Treating


Drums along fence line of Picayune Wood Treating site.

Additional Resources
Site Summary Profile
EPA ID: MSD065490930
Location: Picayune, Pearl River County, MS
Lat/Long: 30.524440, -089.689720
Congressional District: 04
NPL Status: Proposed: 03/08/2004; Final: 07/22/2004
Affected Media: Ground water, Soil, Sediment
Cleanup Status: Physical cleanup activities are underway.
Human Exposure Under Control: Yes
Groundwater Migration Under Control: No
Sitewide Ready for Anticipated Use: No
Site Reuse/Redevelopment: Possible commercial/industrial development or open space (parks, recreation centers, and open fields)
Site Manager: Michael Taylor (taylor.michael@epa.gov)

Current Site Status

The Picayune Wood Treating site includes the area where various timber and lumber-related operations took place from the early 1900s until 1999. EPA placed the site on the National Priorities List (NPL) in 2004 because of contaminated ground water, soil and sediment resulting from facility operations. EPA and the Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality (MDEQ) have investigated site conditions and taken steps to clean up the site in order to protect people and the environment from contamination. EPA has dug up contaminated soil identified on residential properties near the site and placed the soil in a fenced area on site. Both residents and businesses use the public water system for drinking water; site contamination has not affected the system. In September 2010, EPA approved funding to carry out the site’s approved cleanup plan. By conducting ground water monitoring, EPA and MDEQ continue to protect people and the environment from site contamination. Excavation of soil and sediment was completed in August 2013. Two containment cells were created on site to hold contaminated soil. Groundwater monitoring is underway.

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Site Location and Background

The site is located at 403 Davis Street in Picayune, Mississippi. The 31.5-acre site consists mostly of flat, undeveloped land. Site surroundings include a commercial and industrial area to the east, an abandoned lumberyard, a public park, a day care center and residences to the south, and Southside Elementary School and more residences to the west. Two man-made ditches at the site drain into Mill Creek. Mill Creek flows into the Pearl River, which people use for fishing and boating.

Timber and lumber-related operations began in the early 1900s; wood treating operations most likely began around 1946. The Crosby Products Company pressure-treated yellow southern pine wood with preservative chemicals, including creosote. In 1973, Wood Treating, Inc. (WTI) purchased the facility and continued to pressure-treat wood at the site until 1999, when operations ceased.

In 1985, WTI discovered contaminated ground water under the Picayune facility and closed some areas of the facility. The company installed ground water wells in 1991 to remove and treat contaminated water. Shortly afterward, WTI dismantled the wood pressure-treating system. All wood treating operations stopped in 1999. Only a few of the original structures remain on the site.

MDEQ and EPA regulated the WTI facility under the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) from 1981 to 1999. In 2004, EPA listed the site on the NPL. The site is currently vacant.

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Threats and Contaminants

Site investigations found contamination in ground water, soil and sediment that could potentially harm people in the area. Contamination resulted from past facility operations. Contaminants of concern in soil and sediment include dioxin, benzo(a)pyrene and pentachlorophenol (PCP). Examples of contaminants of concern in ground water include aluminum, dibenzofuran and PCP.

EPA is preparing cleanup actions to address contaminated ground water. Because residents in the area obtain their water from municipal water supply wells, they are not at risk. The City of Picayune operates the nearest drinking water wells. Although these wells are close to the site, the City of Picayune monitors and treats water collected prior to distribution. No one is drinking contaminated water from the site.

Surface water contamination was a major concern at the site. However, by cleaning up soil, EPA greatly reduced the spread of contamination from site soils into surface water.

In 2006, the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) concluded that it is possible that children exposed to soil contamination in and around the site and children exposed to sediments in residential yards and creek beds near the site may be at risk. Those risks included reproductive and developmental effects. The ATSDR Health Consultation (PDF) (12 pp, 90K, About PDF) contains additional information. In response, EPA installed a fence along the designated portion of Mill Creek. Children in the nearby public park used to use Mill Creek for recreational purposes; access to this area was restricted.

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Investigation and Cleanup Responsibility / Oversight

EPA leads site investigation and cleanup activities. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is working with EPA through an interagency agreement. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is responsible for securing a contractor to implement the approved site cleanup plan.

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Site Cleanup Plan

In 2007, EPA issued a cleanup plan (a Record of Decision, or ROD) for the site. The plan included the following activities:

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

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Cleanup Progress

In 1985 groundwater contamination was discovered beneath two closed impoundments.  WTI closed the cooling water pond and trench impoundments used to manage wastewater and sludge.  In 1988 a Corrective Action Plan was implemented for groundwater contamination.  In 1991 WTI installed six recovery wells as part of a pump and treat system.  This system was installed to recover NAPL and contaminated groundwater.

EPA began emergency removal cleanup actions in October 1999 to address contaminated areas at the treatment process area.  From 1999 through 2001, EPA removed waste from all tanks, vats and ditches.  Contaminated soil was treated and stockpiled for off site disposal.

In 2002, EPA initiated long term remedial actions with a Remedial Investigation and Feasibility Study (RI/FS).  Once the site was listed on the NPL in 2004, EPA finalized a Record of Decision (ROD) in 2007. 
Contaminated soil from the residential properties and sediments from Mill Creek were removed by EPA in 2007 through 2008.  Approximately 40,000 cubic yards of soil and sediment were excavated and backfilled.

The remedial action in the main wood treatment areas was initiated in 2011.  Two 80 foot slurry walls and two soil capped containment cells were installed through 2013.  Approximately 180,000 cubic yards of soil has been contained in the cells.

Plans for groundwater remediation began in 2013.  Groundwater cleanup will include remediation involving chemical oxidation and biological treatment to remove contamination.  The groundwater activities will continue for approximately ten years.

More information on the removal action is available on OSCnet.


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

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Enforcement Activities

EPA has been investigating the liability of potentially responsible parties (PRPs) for the site’s contamination for several years. In connection with EPA's site investigations, the Agency has sent information requests and notice letters to all identified PRPs associated with the site. Site PRPs include several companies that are no longer operating or in business, two former owners of the companies, and a current owner of a 13-acre portion of the site property. EPA is using federal funds for site cleanup activities. EPA is currently pursuing enforcement actions that include discussions with the former and current owners of the site about reimbursing EPA for work done to clean up the contamination.

The ROD online provides more information on site enforcement activities.

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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 information meetings. Outreach activities have also included work with the local government.

EPA has worked collaboratively with MDEQ throughout the Agency’s involvement at the site. ATSDR has also engaged in outreach activities with EPA and MDEQ to inform the community regarding site contaminants of concern.

In 2004, EPA completed a community involvement plan for the site. EPA updated this plan in 2007.

In 2005, EPA conducted a community site tour and an informational community meeting.

In 2005, EPA also completed a reuse and redevelopment plan (PDF) (60 pp, 4.5MB, About PDF) for the site that involved input from local community leaders, residents, local government and business owners.

In 2006, a public meeting was held to inform the community of upcoming removal activities and explain the relocation process. As well, the public meeting informed the community of the ongoing remedial action plan being developed for the site.

From May 2007 through March of 2008, EPA worked with MDEQ to relocate residents during removal activities. As well, on November 8, 2007, EPA along with MDEQ conducted a public meeting which provided information to the community regarding continuing removal activities as well upcoming remedial activities. In order to better serve the community, the  a community involvement specialist  was onsite throughout the removal activities and was available  on a daily basis with community members to address concerns and answer questions. Though actions such as this, EPA and the state MDEQ office have been able to effectively and consistently  keep the residents of Picayune informed about issues related to clean-up the Picayune Wood Treating site.  In 2007, the community involvement plan for the site was updated.

In November 2009, EPA Senior Leaders and key officials from the MDEQ toured the Picayune Wood Treating site. This was followed by an EPA-sponsored Community Listening Session held in Picayune at the South Side Elementary School.

In 2012, EPA initiated remedial activities and held public availability sessions. In 2013/14 EPA met with State and local officials to update the Reuse/Redevelopment Plan for the site.

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Future Work

EPA and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers are working to carry out the site’s cleanup plan.

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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

Margaret Reed Crosby Memorial Library
900 Goodyear Boulevard
Picayune, MS  39466

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