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Carrier Air Conditioning Company

Additional Resources
Site Summary Profile
EPA ID: TND044062222
Location: Collierville, Shelby County, TN
Lat/Long: 35.043330, -089.690410
Congressional District: 07
NPL Status: Proposed: 06/24/84; Final: 02/21/90
Affected Media: Ground water, Sludge, Soil
Cleanup Status: Construction Complete - Physical cleanup activities have been completed.
Human Exposure Under Control: Yes
Groundwater Migration Under Control: Yes
Sitewide Ready for Anticipated Use: No
Site Reuse/Redevelopment: In continued use – an industrial manufacturing plant is located on site
Site Manager: Randy Bryant (bryant.randy@epa.gov)

Current Status

The Carrier Air Conditioning Co. site includes an area where the Carrier Corporation has operated a manufacturing plant since the 1960s. EPA placed the site on the National Priorities List (NPL) in 1989 because of contaminated ground water, sludge and soil resulting from plant operations. EPA, the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation (TDEC), and 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. Through ongoing ground water and soil treatment, ground water monitoring and required Five-Year Reviews, EPA, TDEC and the site’s PRP continue to protect people and the environment from site contamination.

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Site Location and Background

The 135-acre site is located on the western side of Collierville, Tennessee, 21 miles east of downtown Memphis. The site is near the intersection of U.S. Highway 72 and Byhalia Road. Land uses surrounding the site include commercial, municipal and residential land uses. Nearby homes are less than one mile from the site and include low-income residents. The Town of Collierville’s Water Plant #2 is northwest of the site. The Smalley-Piper Superfund site is located approximately one-quarter mile northeast of the site.

Since the late 1960s, the Carrier Corporation (Carrier) has manufactured residential heating and air conditioning units at the site. During assembly of air conditioning units, the plant stamps aluminum sheeting and assembles it with copper tubing to form air heat exchangers. Carrier removes stamping and forming oils and dirt from these parts prior to final assembly. Until about 1986, trichloroethylene (TCE) was the primary solvent, or substance used to dissolve other substances, used to degrease and clean these parts.

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Threats and Contaminants

In 1979 and 1985, solvent storage systems released TCE into an area just south of the main manufacturing building. In addition, behind the facility, a wastewater lagoon operated by the plant from 1972 to 1979 received TCE- and zinc-contaminated wastewater that contaminated lagoon sediment. The lagoon is approximately 300 feet from the Town of Collierville's Water Plant #2 and the TCE release areas are approximately 2,000 feet from the water plant.

In July 1986, sampling detected TCE in Water Plant #2. Sampling did not detect TCE at any other municipal water plants or in treated ground water distributed to the Town of Collierville. In 1990, EPA listed the site on the NPL. The Carrier air conditioning manufacturing plant remains in active operation at the site.

Site investigations found contamination in ground water, sludge and soil that could potentially harm people in the area. Contamination resulted from waste handling practices at the site. Contaminants of concern include TCE, cis-I,2-dichloroethylene, trans-I,2-dichloroethylene, 1,2-dichloroethene, tetrachloroethylene (also known as PCE or PERC), vinyl chloride and metals, including lead and zinc.

Soil and ground water remediation at the site is ongoing. Contaminant concentrations continue to decrease. Source contamination excavated from the site prevents TCE from transferring contaminants into the shallow ground water aquifer. The soil treatment area is fenced and contaminated ground water remains within the site boundary. Contamination does not affect private wells in the area.

In addition, Shelby County prohibits installation of drinking water wells within a half-mile of state or federal Superfund sites unless the well owner can demonstrate that the well will not enhance the migration of contaminants into ground water.

Vapor intrusion does not threaten people living or working near the site.

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Investigation and Cleanup Responsibility / Oversight

Carrier, the site’s PRP, leads site investigation and cleanup activities, with oversight provided by EPA and TDEC.

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Site Cleanup Plan

In 1992, EPA issued a cleanup plan (a Record of Decision, or ROD) for the site. The plan included the following activities:

Summaries of site cleanup approaches are also available online in key site cleanup documents, including the ROD and Five-Year Reviews.

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Cleanup Progress

In 1989, the site’s PRP installed a SVE system in the former wastewater lagoon area.

The PRP installed the ground water treatment system at Water Plant #2 in 1990 to remove TCE from ground water. EPA expects the system to continue operating until 2014.

The PRP installed the SVE system for the main plant area (the 1979 and 1985 TCE release areas) during 1994 and 1995. The system has operated since that time.

In 1996, Carrier and the Town of Collierville finalized operations and maintenance responsibilities for Water Plant #2 and the ground water treatment system. Carrier expanded its facility in 2004 to 2005, excavating soil impacted by TCE during the expansion process.

Zoning of the site property is for industrial land uses. The Town of Collierville has indicated that long-range plans for the area anticipate that land use at the site will remain industrial.

The site’s third Five-Year Review, completed in 2010, found that the site’s cleanup approach continues to protect people and the environment from remaining site contamination. In order for it to remain effective in the long term, additional steps such as ongoing treatment of soil and ground water contamination will need to continue.

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

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Enforcement Activities

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

The ROD and Five-Year Reviews online provide 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 and information meetings.

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Future Work

The ground water treatment system at Water Plant #2 will continue to operate.

The site’s SVE system will also continue to operate.

Ground water monitoring is ongoing.

EPA completed the last Five-Year Review in 2010 and plans to complete the next Five-Year Review in 2015.  

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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

Memphis-Shelby County Public Library
91 Walnut St.
Collierville, TN 38017

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