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Southeastern Wood Preserving


Excavation begins in creek. (source: OSC.net)

Additional Resources
Site Summary Profile
EPA ID: MSD000828558
Location: Canton, Madison County, MS
Lat/Long: 32.617101, -90.016587
Congressional District: 02
NPL Status: Proposed: 09/16/11; Final 3/15/12 
Affected Media: Ground water, Soil, Surface water, Sediment
Cleanup Status: Early Action Initiated/Completed – Study Not Begun
Human Exposure Under Control: EPA is working to determine
Groundwater Migration Under Control: There is insufficient data to determine
Sitewide Ready for Anticipated Use: No
Site Reuse/Redevelopment: Not in use
Site Manager: Shelby Johnston (johnston.shelby@epa.gov)

Current Site Status

The Southeastern Wood Preserving site includes the area where several companies conducted wood treating operations from 1928 and 1979. EPA proposed the site to the National Priorities List (NPL) in 2011 because of contaminated ground water, soil, surface water 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. From 2009 until 2011, EPA conducted a short-term cleanup action to address immediate threats. EPA activities included stockpiling 8,000 cubic yards of contaminated sludge and stopping the flow of creosote into Batchelor Creek. EPA is preparing to conduct an extensive investigation to assess fully site-related threats to people living near the site and the environment and to evaluate cleanup options. EPA will begin this investigation after finalizing the site on the NPL. The NPL listing was finalized on March 15, 2012 and the Remedial Investigation has been underway since May 2012. This extensive investigation is to assess fully site-related threats to people living near the site and the environment and to evaluate cleanup options. Residents and businesses near the site use the public water supply, which is safe to drink.

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Site Location and Background

The 25-acre site is located in a commercial and residential area just east-northeast of downtown Canton, Mississippi. Batchelor Creek (also known as Towne Creek) and the Illinois Central Gulf Railroad border the site to the north. Batchelor Creek flows through a city park, a residential area and downtown Canton before it enters Bear Creek. The railroad is no longer operational. Covington Road borders the site to the south, extending from Miller Street to the west to Hargon Street to the east. The City of Canton's drinking water well field is just south of Covington Road. An abandoned industrial area borders the site to the east and a residential area borders the site west of Miller Street.

Between 1928 and 1979, several companies conducted wood treating operations at the site. The companies used coal tar, creosote and pentachlorophenol as wood preservatives. Operators constructed three unlined wastewater holding ponds for disposal of wood preserving treatment sludges and process wastewater. Before 1977, the facility reportedly discharged 50,000 gallons of wastewater directly into Batchelor Creek.

The State of Mississippi referred the site to EPA because of extensive soil contamination and the large area of contaminated sediments in Batchelor Creek. In 2011, EPA proposed the site for the NPL and the listing was finalized in 2012. The site is not currently in use.

View site location map.

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Threats and Contaminants

Site investigations found contamination in ground water, soil, surface water and sediment that could potentially harm people in the area. Contamination resulted from wood treating practices at the site. Potential contaminants of concern include creosote and other contaminants related to the wood treating process.

In 2009, EPA undertook a short-term cleanup action to address immediate threats at the site. EPA completed these actions in 2011. These actions included stopping creosote from flowing into Batchelor Creek and further contaminating creek soil, sediment and surface water. See “Cleanup Progress” for more information.

Although these actions eliminated the immediate threat from site contamination, contaminated sediment, soil and ground water remain on site. In addition, contamination remains in the soil of some nearby residences. In 2008, EPA sampled residences located closest to the site; the results did not require cleanup action.

Residents and businesses use the public water system. A public water supply well is located about 500 feet south of the site. The well draws from areas of ground water located much further below ground than the area of ground water affected by the site. Samples collected from this well confirm that water from the public water supply is safe to drink. 

EPA is preparing to conduct a remedial investigation/feasibility study to assess fully site-related threats to people living near the site and the environment and to evaluate cleanup options.

EPA will be evaluating children’s health issues as part of the site’s risk assessment.

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Investigation and Cleanup Responsibility / Oversight

EPA leads site investigation and cleanup activities in cooperation with MDEQ.

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Site Cleanup Plan

After completing the remedial investigation/feasibility study, EPA will issue a proposed cleanup plan to address any contamination and related risk to people and the environment. After receiving input from MDEQ and the community, EPA will issue the final cleanup plan (a Record of Decision, or ROD). After issuing the plan, EPA will begin preparations to carry out the approved cleanup activities.

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Cleanup Progress

In 2009, EPA began a short-term cleanup action to address immediate threats at the site. These removal activities include:

EPA completed these actions on March 15, 2011. EPA OSC.net provides more information about EPA’s removal activities.

The site Remedial Investigation and Feasibility Study (RI/FS) phase of remediation process began in May 2012 and is still ongoing.  The purpose of this investigation it to determine the extent of contamination to the site and local neighborhood including Batchelor Creek.

During the first three sampling events of the RI/FS, contamination was identified offsite and in the residential community.  At several locations this contamination was at a level above the Residential Risk Screening Level (RSL).  Of the 45 properties sampled 19 were found to have contaminant concentration levels that also exceeded the Risk Management Levels (RMLs) which are higher than the RSLs.  RMLs are values used by EPA to help determine if any future actions are needed and to aid in prioritizing the required action.  All residents of properties where the sampling results exceeded the RSLs have been notified.  During this portion of the investigation all of the Canton Municipal Utility drinking water wells that were sampled were found to be clear of any site related contamination.

The properties with levels of contaminants that exceeded the RMLs were referred to Removal and an Action Memorandum was signed on September 25, 2013 to begin removal of the contamination in this locations.  12 residential and 7 commercial properties were included in the Removal Action and soil remediation was completed from October 2013 to April 2014.  The Removal Action has been completed and the residents involved have been notified of the action completion.


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Enforcement Activities

EPA has been unable to identify any viable potentially responsible parties for the site. EPA anticipates using federal funds to conduct additional site cleanup.

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Community Involvement

EPA is working 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 plans to conduct 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 will include public notices and meetings.

During EPA’s removal action, EPA site staff kept in contact with Canton’s mayor.

In late 2008, EPA’s cleanup contractor and MDEQ contacted property owners near the site regarding the need for soil sampling. In 2010, EPA mailed letters to the affected property owners explaining the sampling results.

On November 17, 2011, EPA held a public meeting in Canton to discuss the status of the site’s NPL listing and EPA’s efforts to plan for long-term cleanup action, following completion of the short-term cleanup action.

A public availability session was held on September 13, 2013 at the Canton Boy’s and Girl’s Club to allow the community to ask questions and voice any concerns.  During this meeting the results of the sampling were discussed and the path forward was outlined to give residents a better feel for what they should expect in the coming months.

And since the start of the remedial investigation EPA has been in close contact with the surrounding residents using in person home visits and mailings to update the residents on the findings of the investigation.  A community availability session is tentatively planned for later this summer.

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Future Work

Once EPA finalizes the site on the NPL, the Agency will initiate a remedial investigation/feasibility study.

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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

EPA has not yet established an information repository for the site.

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