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North Belmont PCE

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Site Summary Profile
EPA ID: NCD986187128
Location: Belmont, Gaston County, NC
Lat/Long: 35.273470, -081.051250
Congressional District: 08
NPL Status: Proposed: 04/23/99; Final: 07/22/99
Affected Media: Ground water
Cleanup Status: Construction Complete – Physical cleanup activities have been completed.
Human Exposure Under Control: Yes
Groundwater Migration Under Control: No
Sitewide Ready for Anticipated Use: No
Site Reuse/Redevelopment: In continued use – commercial businesses and residential properties are located on site
Site Manager: Michael Townsend (townsend.michael@epa.gov)

Current Site Status

The North Belmont PCE site includes an area where a dry cleaning business operated from 1960 to 1975. EPA placed the site on the National Priorities List (NPL) in 1999 because of contaminated ground water resulting from waste handling practices at the site. EPA and the North Carolina Department of Environment and Natural Resources (NCDENR) have investigated site conditions and taken steps to clean up the site in order to protect people and the environment from contamination. Site contamination does not currently threaten people living and working near the site. A water line connects nearby residences and businesses to the public water supply. By treating ground water and undertaking Five-Year Reviews, EPA and NCDENR continue to protect people and the environment from site contamination.

Site Location and Background

The 0.75-acre site is located at Roper's Shopping Center on Woodland Avenue in North Belmont, Gaston County, North Carolina. Residential neighborhoods border the site to the east and west. A cemetery and a forested area border the site to the north. North Belmont Elementary School borders the site to the south.

From 1960 to1975, the Untz family operated a dry cleaning business at the site. Operations at the site also included the use of a boiler to distill dry cleaning waste materials. Operations disposed of spent materials from the boiler onto the ground surface behind the building and through the on-site septic tank system. In 1999, EPA listed the site on the NPL. Commercial businesses and residential properties are located on the site.

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Threats and Contaminants

Site investigations found contamination in ground water that could potentially harm people in the area. Contamination resulted from waste handling practices at the site.  Contaminants of concern include volatile organic compounds (VOCs) including tetrachloroethylene (also known as PCE or PERC).

In 1991, the Gaston County Health Department found contamination in a residential well that supplied drinking water to the elementary school and two homes. Contamination affected 16 residential drinking water wells. EPA connected nearby residences, schools and businesses to the public water supply.

In 2010, EPA assessed whether residents or workers might be at risk from harmful ground water vapors in buildings. EPA found that vapor intrusion did not pose a threat to residents and workers.

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Investigation and Cleanup Responsibility / Oversight

EPA leads site cleanup activities in cooperation with NCDENR.

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Site Cleanup Plan

In 1997, EPA issued a cleanup plan (a Record of Decision, or ROD) for the site. The plan included the following activities:

In 2000, EPA issued an Explanation of Significant Differences (ESD) to remove the use of living organisms to break down contaminants from site cleanup activities.

In 2010, EPA issued a second ESD to discharge treated ground water to an on-site tributary.

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

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Cleanup Progress

In 2000, EPA completed connecting the elementary school and 29 neighborhood drinking water wells to the public water supply.

EPA completed construction of the in-well circulation and vapor stripping ground water treatment system in 2004. Ground water treatment has been suspended.

In the site’s first Five-Year Review, completed in 2009, EPA found that the Agency could not make a protectiveness determination of the site’s cleanup until well sampling on properties originally declined connection to the public water supply occurs and, if needed, EPA connects additional residences to the public water supply. The Gaston County Health Department conducted well sampling in 2009. Following the sampling, the Five-Year Review found that the cleanup remains protective of human health and the environment in the short term. In order for the cleanup to remain protective in the long term, the Five-Year Review recommended that use of the ground water treatment system continue.

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

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Enforcement Activities

EPA is using federal funds for site cleanup activities.

Under a legal agreement between the United States and the site’s potentially responsible parties (PRPs), the PRPs had 24 months to sell the site property for fair market value and provide EPA with 75 percent of the net proceeds. If not sold, the agreement required the PRPs to auction the site property within the next six months. Because of the depressed real estate market, the court, upon motion by the United States and the PRPs, amended the agreement on October 13, 2011 to allow the PRPs six more months to sell the property. If the property does not sell at auction, EPA reserves the right to auction the property and take 100 percent of the auction proceeds.

The ROD and Five-Year Reviews online provide additional 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, community interviews and a public meeting.

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Future Work

EPA is constructing a discharge line to the on-site tributary for discharging treated ground water. EPA will restart the ground water treatment system following the completion of the discharge line.

EPA completed the last Five-Year Review in 2009 and plans to complete the next Five-Year Review 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

Gaston County Public Library – Belmont Branch
111 Central Avenue
Belmont, NC  28012

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