Site Summary ProfileEPA ID: NCD991278631
Location: Riegelwood, Columbus Co., NC
Lat/Long: 34.3419, -78.223826
Congressional District: 03
NPL Status: Non NPL
Affected Media: Soil, Sediment, Surface water and Ground water
Cleanup Status: Physical cleanup activities, through removal actions, have started, Remedial Investigation underway
Site Reuse/Redevelopment: Currently unused
Site Manager: Samantha Urquhart-Foster (firstname.lastname@example.org)
The HoltraChem site is located approximately 20 miles west-northwest of the City of Wilmington, North Carolina. The site includes the former 24-acre HoltraChem chlor-alkali manufacturing plant at 636 John Riegel Road in the City of Riegelwood, North Carolina, and all nearby areas contaminated from plant operations. The Cape Fear River borders one side of the plant. The other three sides are bounded by International Paper’s Riegelwood Mill (IP). The nearby area includes residential, industrial and commercial uses.
The former chlor-alkali plant located on the HoltraChem site began operations in 1963 and ceased in 2000. The plant was originally constructed to provide chlorine gas, caustic soda, and bleach to the adjacent IP facility, using a mercury cell process. Other products were sold or were used in-house by HoltraChem.
The Riegelwood Mill located on the adjacent IP property has been in operation since 1951 and produces solid bleach board, bristols and market pulp. IP has operated a permitted industrial landfill on its property since 1963. The landfill is surrounded by a series of wastewater treatment ponds used in Mill operations that ultimately discharge to the Cape Fear River.
HoltraChem discharged process wastewater generated during chlorine production to IP’s wastewater treatment system. IP personnel have indicated that until the late 1970s or early 1980s, HoltraChem process wastewater was discharged to IP’s North Bay treatment pond. Subsequently, HoltraChem’s discharge was relocated to the head of IP’s treatment works. The North Bay treatment pond served as a settling lagoon for wastewater treatment solids (WWTS) until 2002. It operated for over 20 years.
Mercury and polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), specifically Aroclor 1268, are considered the primary site contaminants. However, these are not the only contaminants found at the site. Contamination has been identified in soil, sediment, ground water and surface water at the site. In addition, PCB contamination from the HoltraChem site was found on the neighboring IP’s property, which was removed from IP and stockpiled under a secure tarp on the HoltraChem property.
Site Cleanup Plan
In 2002, EPA issued an Enforcement Action Memorandum for a Time-Critical Removal Action to address all containerized hazardous wastes at the site at the site. Key components of the removal action included:
- Removal of mercury from the 24 cells in the old cell building.
- Dismantling and removing the cells and old cell building.
- Removing various hazardous chemicals as well as some tanks, piping, asbestos, and other miscellaneous debris from the site.
In 2008, EPA issued an Enforcement Action Memorandum for a second Time-Critical Removal Action on the neighboring IP’s property after PCB contamination from the HoltraChem site was identified there. Key components of the removal action included: excavation of the PCB contamination from the IP property and the stockpiling of the material on the HoltraChem property until the final soil cleanup approach is selected and implemented.
In mid-2004, Honeywell began an Engineering Evaluation/Cost Analysis (EE/CA) to determine the removal actions required for contaminated soil, sediment and surface water at the site, and potential future cleanup actions required for ground water. The EE/CA is a comprehensive sampling study to evaluate the full extent of the contamination at the site and to evaluate options for addressing the contamination. Honeywell’s consultant submitted a draft EE/CA report. EPA determined that a removal action, selected at the completion of an EE/CA, would not fully address the threat posed by the release and that the release requires remedial action. Specifically, sampling and analysis data collected during the EE/CA indicated contaminated ground water. Ground water remedies are typically beyond the scope of removal actions. Therefore, in September 2009, EPA and Honeywell entered into an Administrative Order on Consent to transition the EE/CA to a Remedial Investigation/Feasibility Study (RI/FS).
The Draft RI report is currently under review by EPA. Once the RI/FS is completed, EPA will prepare a Proposed Plan for the site cleanup.
The first Time-Critical Removal Action at the site was initiated in January 2003 and completed in October 2004. Results of the removal action included:
- Reclamation of 17.5 tons of elemental mercury.
- Removal of 185 boxes of hazardous wastes (20-25 cubic yards each), 28 flat-bed trailers carrying the emptied and foam filled mercury cells, 11 boxes of D009 waste, 24 dump trucks of saturator salts, and 124 boxes of non-hazardous waste.
- Transport of 722 tons of scrap metals to a recycler.
The second Time-Critical Removal Action at the site was initiated in May 2008 and completed in January 2009. Results of the removal action included:
- Excavation and placement of a total of 51,297 cubic yards of WWTS with PCB concentrations less than 50 mg/kg in IP's landfill Cell #1.
- Excavation and stockpiling of a total of 18,877 cubic yards of WWTS with PCB concentrations greater than or equal to 50 mg/kg on the HoltraChem property in engineered stockpiles.
- Treatment of 6.5 million gallons of water.
The stockpiles are inspected, weekly, at a minimum. The WWTS will remain on the HoltraChem property until the final cleanup plan is selected for the site.
Site cleanup activities are being led primarily by potentially responsible parties with oversight by EPA.
In 2002, EPA negotiated an Administrative Order on Consent (AOC) between EPA and Honeywell International, Inc. (Honeywell) for the performance of a Time-Critical Removal Action to address all containerized hazardous wastes.
In 2004, EPA negotiated an AOC with Honeywell for the performance of an EE/CA for the site.
In 2008, EPA negotiated an AOC with Honeywell and International Paper Company for a removal action to excavate the PCB contamination from the IP property and stockpile it on the HoltraChem property.
In 2009, EPA negotiated an AOC with Honeywell to convert the EE/CA to a RI/FS.
EPA has conducted a range of community involvement activities at the HoltraChem site to solicit community input and to ensure that the public remains informed about site activities throughout the site cleanup process. Outreach activities have included community interviews and public notices on cleanup progress and activities. The most recent activities include mailing a meeting notice to community members within a 1 mile radius of the Site and holding a public meeting in June 2010 to provide an update on actions completed so far at the site as well as to inform the community about the future plans (i.e. completing the Remedial Investigation, Feasibility Study, and selecting a cleanup plan for the site).
Honeywell’s consultant continues to conduct the RI/FS under EPA oversight. Once the RI/FS is completed, EPA will prepare a Proposed Plan for the site cleanup.
Site Administrative Documents
For more information or to view any site-related documents that supported the remedy selection process, please visit the site information repository at the following location.
East Columbus Public Library
100 Hwy 87
Riegelwood, NC 28456
For documents not available on the website, please contact the Region 4 Freedom of Information Office.