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Gurley Pesticide Burial

Additional Resources
Site Summary Profile
EPA ID: NCD986172526
Location: Selma, Johnston County, NC
Lat/Long: 35.532453, -078.287191
Congressional District: 02
NPL Status: Superfund Alternative Site
Affected Media: Ground water, Soil
Cleanup Status: Soil Removal Actions Completed – remedial design for ground water is underway
Human Exposure Under Control: NA
Groundwater Migration Under Control: NA
Sitewide Ready for Anticipated Use: NA
Site Reuse/Redevelopment: In reuse – commercial/industrial land uses are located on site
Site Manager: Randy Bryant (bryant.randy@epa.gov)

Current Site Status

The Gurley Pesticide Burial site includes the area where various owners operated a fertilizer production facility from the early 1900s to the 1960s. EPA did not list the site on the National Priorities List (NPL) but considers it an NPL-caliber site and is addressing the site through the Superfund Alternative Approach because of contaminated ground water and soil resulting from facility operations. EPA, the North Carolina Department of Environment and Natural Resources (NCDENR), and 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. In the 1990s, parties undertook three short-term cleanup actions. In 2008, the site’s PRPs dug up and disposed of 39,000 tons of soil off site. Ground water monitoring and testing of subsurface cleanup methods is ongoing. Through these steps, EPA, NCDENR and the site’s PRPs continue to protect people and the environment from site contamination.

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Site Location and Background

The 103-acre site is located in Selma, North Carolina. A phosphate fertilizer production facility and an agricultural chemical distribution facility formerly operated at the site. Site surroundings include East Preston Street/Gurley Road to the west, railroad lines to the northwest and northeast, and a U.S. Interstate 95 service road (Crocker Road) to the southeast. Broader site surroundings include undeveloped land, commercial and industrial businesses, and residences. The closest residences are located within a mile of the site and include low-income and minority residents. Site features include a rail spur that connects to a nearby ethanol distribution facility and a large storage building built on the site in the last five years.

Fertilizer production began at the site in the early 1900s and ceased in the 1960s. From 1963 to 2001, ownership of the site changed multiple times. NSEW Corporation is the site’s current owner. There are two major areas of interest at the site: the Pesticide Burial Area and the Acid Plant Area. The Pesticide Burial Area is where Gurley Milling Company, the property owner at the time, buried 147 drums of pesticides in 1974. A subsequent owner, Illinois Cereal Mills, removed the drums in 1994. The Acid Plant Area was the location of discharges of acidic waters containing metals during fertilizer processing operations.

EPA did not list the site on the NPL, but considers it an NPL-caliber site and is addressing it through the Superfund Alternative Approach. This approach uses the same investigation and cleanup processes and standards used for sites listed on the NPL.

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Threats and Contaminants

Site investigations identified contamination in ground water and soil that could potentially harm people in the area. Ground water and soil contamination resulted from past operations at the site. Contaminant of concern include arsenic and lead. Contaminants of concern in ground water include arsenic, lead, pesticides and volatile organic compounds (VOCs).

Contamination does not affect ground water in the area used for drinking water purposes. Ground water monitoring is ongoing. Vapor intrusion is not an issue at the site. Portions of the site are fenced and secured.

The site can support commercial and industrial uses.

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Investigation and Cleanup Responsibility / Oversight

The site’s PRPs lead site investigation and cleanup activities, with oversight provided by EPA and NCDENR.

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Site Cleanup Plan

In the 1990s, the site’s PRPs undertook three short-term cleanup actions to address site contamination. See “Cleanup Progress” for more information. In 2006, EPA issued a cleanup plan (a Record of Decision, or ROD) for the site. The plan included:

Summaries of site cleanup approaches are also available online in the ROD.

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Cleanup Progress

In 1994-1995, one of the site’s PRPs addressed contamination in the Pesticide Burial Area by removing 147 drums and 898 cubic yards of soil from a pesticide disposal trench.

In 1997, a PRP addressed contamination in the Acid Plant Area by removing contaminated soil and replacing it with clean soil. The PRP also treated some contaminated soil in place by mixing it with Portland cement or adding hydrated lime.

In 1998, EPA addressed additional contamination by:

In 2008, the site’s PRPs dug up and disposed of 39,000 tons (about 26,000 cubic yards) of soil off site. In 2010, the PRPs also dug up an additional 3,700 tons of contaminated soil discovered next to a railroad spur on the site property and disposed of the soil off site.

The PRP has evaluated injection treatments and a permeable reactive barrier as part of the design process for the groundwater cleanup.  Based on the evaluation, the permeable reactive barrier is the most appropriate technique.  The design for the permeable reactive barrier should be completed by late 2014. 

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Enforcement Activities

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

The ROD online provides 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, a fact sheet and public meetings on cleanup activities and updates.

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Future Work

EPA anticipates completion of the design of the ground water cleanup 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

Selma Public Library
301 N. Pollock Street
Selma, NC 27576-2525

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