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Koppers Co., Inc. (Florence Plant)

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Site Summary Profile
EPA ID: SCD003353026
Location: Florence, Florence County, SC
Lat/Long: 34.202200, -079.722900
Congressional District: 06
NPL Status: Proposed: 09/08/83; Final: 09/21/84
Affected Media: Ground water, Sediment, Soil
Cleanup Status: Physical cleanup activities are underway
Human Exposure Under Control: Yes
Groundwater Migration Under Control: Yes
Sitewide Ready for Anticipated Use: No
Site Reuse/Redevelopment: In continued use – industrial land uses are located on site
Site Manager: Yvonne Jones (jones.yvonneo@epa.gov)


Current Site Status

The Koppers Co., Inc. (Florence Plant) site includes the area where a wood treating and preserving plant has operated for several decades. EPA placed the site on the National Priorities List (NPL) in 1984 because of contaminated ground water, sediment and soil resulting from facility operations. EPA, the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (SCDHEC), and Koppers Co., Inc., the site’s potentially responsible party (PRP), 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.

In 1991-1992, EPA’s Superfund program deferred the site to EPA’s Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) program. In 1996, EPA’s RCRA program deferred the site to the State of South Carolina’s RCRA program. Because of the deferral process, the state is directing site investigations and cleanup. EPA plans to propose deleting the site from the NPL in September 2012 under its policy for deferred RCRA-lead sites. Cleanup activities under the RCRA program will continue. By monitoring the facility, treating ground water and cleaning up contaminated soil and sediment, EPA, SCDHEC and the site’s PRP continue to protect people and the environment from site contamination.

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Site Location and Background

The 145-acre site is located 1.5 miles east of Florence. Site surroundings include residential areas, hospitals, schools and a day care center. Agricultural lands, an airport, commercial businesses and light industrial operations are also located nearby.

The site is the location of an active wood treating and preserving plant. The plant uses three preservatives in its operations: creosote, pentachlorophenol (PCP) and chromated copper arsenate. State and federal permits for wastewater discharges required the plant to upgrade operating practices, starting in 1971. The state required plant operators to spray the plant's liquid wastes over a field and allow the liquid to evaporate. Plant operators also pumped penta-oil wastes into four unlined lagoons, where they released the oil through evaporation and seepage. In 1974, the plant violated the limits of its federal discharge permit, and the EPA ordered the company to study and control runoff. In addition to numerous difficulties with contaminated runoff, EPA and the state later identified additional problems at the site. In 1984, EPA listed the site on the NPL.

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Threats and Contaminants

Site investigations found contamination in ground water, sediment and soil that could potentially harm people in the area. Contamination resulted from waste handling practices at the site. Contaminants of concern include polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, PCP with trace amounts of dioxin, arsenic, lead, copper and chromium.

EPA and the state have identified 33 solid waste management units on site. These include abandoned dumps and an abandoned landfill. The site’s PRP has performed or will perform corrective action on a majority of these units. For example, the PRP has placed a cap over the landfill area. In other areas with contaminated soil, the PRP is treating the soil and then placing it back on site. The PRP is currently addressing contaminated sediments in on-site lagoons.

EPA has required treatment of contaminated ground water through a pump-and-treat system since the late 1980s. Contaminated ground water remains mostly within the site boundary. The PRP regularly conducts ground water monitoring. Site-related contamination has not affected the municipal water well or area private wells.

The site is fenced and secured.

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Investigation and Cleanup Responsibility / Oversight

The site’s PRP, Koppers Co., Inc., leads site investigation and cleanup activities, with oversight provided by EPA and SCDHEC.

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Site Cleanup Plan

In 1991-1992, EPA’s Superfund program deferred the site to EPA’s RCRA program. In 1996, EPA’s RCRA program deferred the site to the State of South Carolina’s RCRA program. Because of the deferral process, the state is directing site investigations and cleanup.

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Cleanup Progress

The site’s PRP has operated a ground water pump-and-treat system at the site since the late 1980s.

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Enforcement Activities

EPA’s RCRA program has formally deferred all activities to the State of South Carolina. Because of the deferral process, the State of South Carolina's RCRA program is directing site investigations and cleanup. The site’s PRP is undertaking a number of corrective actions at the site under the State of South Carolina’s RCRA program.

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Community Involvement

Community engagement and public outreach are core components of EPA program activities. EPA 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 included public notices and public meetings.

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Future Work

EPA plans to propose deleting this site from the NPL in September 2012 under its policy for deferred RCRA-lead sites. Cleanup activities under the RCRA program will continue.

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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

Florence Public Library
319 South Irby Street
Florence, SC 29501

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