CTS of Asheville Site
Site Summary Profile
EPA ID: NCD003149556
Location: 235 Mills Gap Road Asheville, NC 28803
Lat/Long: 35o 29' 35.07"N, 82o 30' 21.43&W
Congressional District: 11
NPL Status: Final
Affected Media: Soil, Surface Water, and Groundwater
Cleanup Status: Removal Action Ongoing, Remedial Investigation Started
On Scene Coordinator: Carter Williamson
Remedial Project Manager: Samantha Urquhart-Foster
Community Involvement Coordinator: Angela Miller
On September 11, 2012, CTS Corporation’s contractor began installing whole house water filtration systems for homes within a one-mile radius of the Site that rely on wells as their drinking water source. Over 80 home owners have accepted the filtration system offer. Installations in homes should be completed by the end of 2012.
Home owners that do not want the filtration system, but wish to continue to have their well sampled by CTS Corporation’s contractors with EPA oversight, should contact Samantha Urquhart-Foster, 404-562-8760, for a new access agreement form. The next sampling event is planned to occur in January 2013. If you live outside of the one-mile radius and would still like to have your private well sampled, please contact the Buncombe County Environmental Health Department at 828-250-5016 and ask to have your well sampled in relation to the CTS Site.
During mid-October, CTS Corporation’s contractor collected air samples for the Vapor Intrusion Assessment. Analytical results are expected to be received in November. AMEC, CTS Corporation’s contractor, is currently preparing a Vapor Intrusion Assessment Report to be submitted to EPA. The report will provide a description of the sampling and analysis activities, a tabulation of the analytical results, and a vapor intrusion risk evaluation. A screening-level assessment of potential human health risk associated with detected analytes in the air samples (after data validation and QA/QC evaluation), will be performed. After the data is reviewed for quality assurance, EPA will provide the data to the property owners and determine if additional sampling or other actions are needed.
On November 9, 2012, CTS Corporation’s contractor submitted the revised Non-Aqueous Phase Liquids (NAPL) Investigation Work Plan. The work plan is currently under review by EPA and NCDENR.
The CTS Site is located at 235 Mills Gap Road in Asheville, Buncombe County, North Carolina. It is in an area known as Skyland, which is approximately 5 miles south of Asheville. The CTS Site is bordered by Mills Gap Road to the north, and residences and undeveloped land to the east, south, and west.
In 1952, International Resistance Corporation purchased 66.4 acres, located at 235 Mills Gap Road. International Resistance Company completed construction of the building and began metal plating operations in 1953. CTS of Asheville, Inc. acquired the property in 1959. CTS of Asheville, Inc. manufactured electronic components used in automotive parts and hearing aids. This included electroplating with tin, nickel, zinc and silver. Prior to plating, the parts were cleaned using trichloroethene (TCE) as a solvent. Operations at the facility ceased in April 1986. In 1987, Mills Gap Road Associates purchased 53.54 acres of the site. In 1997, Mills Gap Road Associates sold 44.89 acres to the Biltmore Group, LLC and retained ownership of the remaining 8.65 acres. The Biltmore Group developed the 44.89 acres into a residential subdivision. Historically manufacturing activities were conducted at the 8.65 acre fenced portion of the site currently owned by Mills Gap Road Associates. During Mills Gap Road Associates ownership of the site property, it leased portions of the facility to various tenants, including Arden Electroplating. The facility has been vacant since the mid-1990s.
In 1985, EPA conducted a Preliminary Assessment (PA) to evaluate the CTS facility. The PA did not find evidence of a release of contamination from the operations at the CTS facility, so no further action was recommended. In 1991, after CTS Corporation notified the State of North Carolina of the presence of contamination at the facility, EPA conducted a sampling investigation and discovered heavy metals and chlorinated solvent contamination. However, this investigation failed to identify a nearby spring, which provided drinking water for two homes. EPA again concluded that no further federal action should be taken at the site. In 1993, the State of North Carolina added the CTS site to their Inactive Hazardous Waste Site Priority list for further investigation.
Following a citizen complaint in 1999, NCDENR sampled a spring that supplied water to two homes next to the CTS facility. NCDENR found contamination from trichloroethene (TCE) and petroleum compounds in the spring and another residential well. EPA responded, provided bottled water to the affected families and connected residences to the municipal water system.
In 2001, and again in 2006, EPA conducted more in-depth investigations of the site. In both instances, EPA concluded the CTS site did not qualify for the NPL.
In 2007-2008, EPA found TCE contamination in four private wells in the Oaks Subdivision, located approximately ¾ mile northeast of the CTS facility, were found to be contaminated with TCE. As a temporary measure, EPA provided bottled water to affected residents in the Oaks Subdivision, until connecting them to the municipal water supply. After sampling 72 private wells in September 2008, EPA began to monitor the wells on a quarterly basis. Quarterly monitoring will continue until EPA determines that it is no longer necessary. Since the start of the monitoring, EPA has not detected any additional TCE in the wells on the monitoring network. However, in August 2009, EPA sampled a residential well on Chapel Hill Church Road that was not on the monitoring network and found the well to be highly contaminated with TCE and cis-DCE. EPA responded by supplying the residents with bottled water and subsequently connected the residents to the municipal water system.
EPA and NCDENR investigations found contamination primarily in ground water near the CTS Site and in the soil beneath and behind the old manufacturing building. Ground water at the CTS Site is primarily contaminated with chlorinated solvents, such as trichloroethene (TCE), cis-1,2-dichloroethene (cis-DCE), and 1,1,1-trichloroethane (TCA), part of a chemical family commonly referred to as volatile organic compounds (VOCs). Of the chemicals found, TCE is the primary contaminant of concern. TCE is a nonflammable, colorless liquid with a somewhat sweet odor and a sweet, burning taste. Mainly used as a solvent to remove grease from metal parts, TCE is also an ingredient in adhesives, paint removers, typewriter correction fluids, and spot removers. Degradation products, chemicals that occur as the main chemical breaks down, were also measured at elevated levels. Those chemicals are cis-DCE, 1,1-dichloroethene (1,1-DCE) and vinyl chloride. In addition to these chemicals, heavy metals, polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), bis(2-ethylhexyl)phthalate and petroleum constituents such as benzene, naphthalene and 2-methylnaphthalene have also been found at the site. All of the chemicals found are hazardous substances.
Cleanup and Related Activities:
In addition to the on-going sampling and investigation activities underway at the CTS site, EPA and/or CTS Corporation has conducted a number of actions and activities to address soil and groundwater contamination at the Site. Such activities have included:
- Providing alternate water supplies to affected residents with contaminated wells.
- Conducting a vapor intrusion study and follow-up study near the site to assess the possibility of any vapor intrusion issues in nearby residences.
- Operating a Soil Vapor Extraction (SVE) System (PDF) (2pp, 80K) to cleanup contamination in the soils resting above the water table. This system uses a series of wells and equipment to create a vacuum in an effort to withdraw solvents from the soils above the water table. The system started operating in July of 2006, and removed more than 6,000 pounds of solvents. Although this amount represents a significant reduction in site contamination, the effectiveness of the SVE is limited to the soils above the water table and does not clean the deeper contamination the in the saturated zone. The SVE system is not currently operational. A sampling plan has been prepared to evaluate how much contamination remains in the soil.
- Conducting an ozonation system pilot study in the nearby contaminated springs.
- For more detailed information and supporting documents on these activities please see the POLREPs section on the EPA OSC website.
During the past few years, CTS Corporation has been conducting an assessment of the site contamination under the review of NCDENR as required by North Carolina state law. More information about the site sampling and site characterization efforts is available here.
In January 2012, EPA and CTS Corporation entered into an Administrative Order and Settlement Agreement on Consent (AOC) for Remedial Investigation and Feasibility Study (RI/FS). EPA and NCDENR will oversee all work conducted by CTS Corporation. CTS Corporation has selected AMEC as their contractor for the RI/FS.
The work for the RI/FS is divided into phases of priority and includes conducting a Vapor Intrusion (VI) Assessment, continued monitoring of private wells, conducting a Non-Aqueous Phase Liquids (NAPL) Investigation, and then other RI/FS activities to fill in the data gaps. In mid-October 2012, AMEC collected air samples for the VI Assessment. In October 2012, EPA approved AMEC’s work plan for private well monitoring and sampling will be scheduled to begin in January 2013. On November 9, 2012, AMEC submitted a revised NAPL Investigation Work Plan based on comments that EPA provided to them on the draft work plan. This work plan is currently under review by EPA and NCDENR.
Public Health Assessment
North Carolina Division of Public Health (NCDPH), through a cooperative arrangement with the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR), has completed a Public Health Assessment (PHA) for the Site. NCDPH released the PHA in January 2011. NCDPH has begun updating the PHA now that the Site has been added to the NPL. For more information please contact NCDPH at 919-707-5900.
EPA has been investigating the liability of potentially responsible parties
for the CTS Site for a number of years. In connection with EPA's site
investigations, EPA has sent Information Requests and notice letters to all
identified potentially liable parties (PRPs) associated with the site. In 2002,
EPA´s preliminary Potentially Responsible Party (PRP) Search showed that CTS
Corporation and Mills Gap Road Associates were potentially responsible parties.
In April of that year, EPA signed an Enforcement-Lead Action Memorandum that
directs the responsible parties to contain, remove or substantially reduce the
hazardous waste in the soil located above the water table and beneath the plant
In 2004, EPA entered into an Administrative Order on Consent for Removal Action (AOC) with CTS Corporation, the former operator at the time of disposal for the Site, and Mills Gap Road Associates, the current owner of the Site.
On January 26, 2012, EPA and CTS Corporation entered into an Administrative Order and Settlement Agreement on Consent (AOC) for Remedial Investigation and Feasibility Study (RI/FS). All work conducted by CTS Corporation will be overseen by EPA and NCDENR.
EPA and NCDENR have mutually conducted a broad range of community involvement activities to involve the community and solicit their input. They have made substantial efforts to ensure that the Asheville community remained informed about site activities throughout the site cleanup and evaluation process. Outreach activities have included public notices and information meetings regarding site progress and activities. Outreach activities have also included work with the local government. ATSDR has also engaged in outreach activities along with EPA and NCDPH to inform the community on contaminants of concern. EPA staff distributes Community Update Information Sheets monthly via email. If you would like to be added to the email distribution list, please contact Angela or Samantha.
EPA encourages community members to come together as a group and apply to receive funds to hire an independent technical adviser. On November 8, 2012, the community group POWER (Protecting Our Water and Environmental Resources), submitted a letter to EPA announcing the group’s intention to apply for a Technical Assistance Grant (TAG). If you are interested in more information about the TAG process, please contact Angela Miller at 404-562-8561 or by cell phone at 678-575-8132. If you would like to receive email updates from EPA regarding the CTS of Asheville, Inc. Superfund Site or have suggestions for improving this website, please submit them to Samantha Urquhart-Foster.
EPA is aware of two community groups that have formed regarding this site. The original community group is led by Glen Horecky. The newly formed community group, POWER, is led by Lee Ann Smith. Please contact them if you are interested in joining their group or would like more information about their group.Future Work
EPA will continue to oversee the work CTS is currently conducting under the removal AOC as well as the remedial AOC and remain responsive to the concerns of the public. Future work planned for the site includes continued private well sampling; installing, monitoring and maintaining well water filtration systems; completing the VI Assessment; conducting a NAPL investigation; and determining additional data needs in order to complete the RI/FS.
You may visit the site information repository for more information or to view site-related documents. The repository is located at:
Pack Memorial Library
67 Haywood Street
Asheville, North Carolina 28801-2834
To view related reports, see these documents:
- National Priorities List Site Narrative, March 2012 (PDF) (1 pg, 33 K, About PDF)
- Administrative Settlement Agreement and Order on Consent for Remedial Investigation and Feasibility Study (PDF). (61pp, 3.73M)
For documents not available on the website or in the Site repository, please contact the Region 4 Freedom of Information Office.