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Ross Metals


Aerial photograph of Ross Metals

Photo of Ross Metals site.

Additional Resources
Site Summary Profile
EPA ID: TND096070396
Location: Rossville, Fayette County, TN
Lat/Long: 35.049160, -89.548610
Congressional District: 07
NPL Status: Proposed: 12/23/96; Final: 04/01/97
Affected Media: Ground water, Soil, Sediment, Surface water
Cleanup Status: Construction Complete, physical cleanup activities have been completed, groundwater treatment continues.
Human Exposure Under Control: Yes
Groundwater Migration Under Control: Yes
Sitewide Ready for Anticipated Use: Yes
Site Reuse/Redevelopment: None
Site Manager: Beth Walden (walden.beth@epa.gov)

Current Status

The Ross Metals Inc. site includes the area where Ross Metals operated a secondary lead smelter facility from 1979 to 1992. EPA placed the site on the National Priorities List (NPL) in 1997 because of contaminated ground water, soil, sediment and surface water resulting from facility operations. EPA and the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation (TDEC) 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. By monitoring ground water, placing institutional controls on the site property and undertaking Five-Year Reviews,  EPA and TDEC continue to protect people and the environment from site contamination.

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Site Location and Background

The 14-acre site is located on North Railroad Street in Rossville, Fayette County, Tennessee. The site includes a 5-acre fenced facility process area and a 9-acre wetland area located north and east of the facility process area. The site is part of a larger 200-acre area owned by Ross Metals. The Ross Metals property borders the site to the north and east. North Railroad Street and a production facility border the site to the south. A municipal wastewater treatment plant borders the site to the west. A residence borders the southeast corner of the site. The site’s broader surroundings include residential and rural areas. Residential areas include low-income and minority residents.

From 1979 to 1992, Ross Metals operated a secondary lead smelter facility at the site. Lead smelting operations manufactured refined alloys from scrap metals, including automotive and industrial lead-acid batteries, lead plates, scrap metal and lead waste from business and industrial processes. Operations generated wastes, including slag, plastic chips, waste acid, lead emission control dusts and lead-contaminated water. Operations placed more than 10,000 cubic yards of slag in an on-site unlined landfill and stockpiled an additional 6,000 cubic yards of slag on site. In 1997, EPA placed the site on the NPL. Currently, the site is not in use. The site can support industrial land uses and residential and commercial land uses with prior approval from TDEC. Fencing and gates limit access to the site.

View site location map.

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Threats and Contaminants

Site investigations identified contamination in ground water, soil, sediment and surface water that could potentially harm people in the area. Contamination resulted from waste handling practices at the site. The contaminant of concern is lead.

EPA addressed soil contamination at the site. The site can support residential, commercial and industrial land uses. However, TDEC must approve any residential or commercial development.

Ground water contamination remains within the site’s boundary. EPA continues to address ground water contamination. TDEC has placed institutional controls on the site property to restrict ground water use at the site and to limit land use to industrial land uses. However, the site can support residential and commercial land uses with prior approval from TDEC.

EPA addressed contaminated surface water by removing contaminated sediment.

Fencing and gates limit access to the site.

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Investigation and Cleanup Responsibility / Oversight

TDEC  leads the leanup activities in cooperation with EPA.

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Site Cleanup Plan

Site investigations and cleanup activities have focused on two areas, which EPA refers to as operable units, or OUs. These areas include OU-1: source areas and soil contamination; and OU-2: ground water contamination.

In 1999, EPA issued a cleanup plan (a Record of Decision, or ROD) for OU-1. The plan included the following activities:

In 2002, EPA issued a cleanup plan (a ROD) for OU-2. The plan included the following activities:

In 2003, EPA issued an Explanation of Significant Differences (ESD) to update the OU-1 cleanup plan to address additional source areas of contamination.

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

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Cleanup Progress

In 1994 and 1995, EPA conducted cleanup activities at the site. EPA removed 4,400 gallons, 170 tons and 1,700 cubic yards of battery chips, tank sludge and debris, sodium hydroxide, hydrochloric acid, and other materials.

In 1998, EPA conducted additional cleanup activities, including placing a fence around contaminated areas and covering slag located in on-site buildings.

In 2001, EPA began the first phase of OU-1 cleanup activities, which included demolishing most on-site buildings, digging up and stockpiling contaminated soil, and disposing of scrap metal off site. In 2002, EPA began the second phase of OU-1 cleanup activities. EPA demolished remaining on-site buildings, recycled metal debris, dug up, treated and disposed of remaining soil and slag contamination, and revegetated the wetland area.

The site’s first Five-Year Review, completed in 2009, found that the cleanups for OU-1 and OU-2 continue to protect people and the environment.

TDEC continues to conduct monitored natural attenuation at the site.

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

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Enforcement Activities

In 1990, EPA's Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) program issued legal orders against parties involved with the site. EPA and the parties negotiated legal agreements. However, the parties never signed the agreements. In 1992, all RCRA enforcement activities at the site ended.  

EPA negotiated legal agreements with some of the site’s PRPs to fund site investigation and cleanup activities. EPA also used federal funds for site cleanup activities.

RODs and the Five-Year Review 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. EPA also helped the community form a Community Advisory Group (CAG) in 1998. The Rossville CAG, composed of approximately 10 citizens, met for the first time in May 1998 and continued to meet periodically until the start of cleanup activities at the site.

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Future Work

EPA continues to conduct monitored natural attenuation at the site.

EPA completed the last Five-Year Review in 2009 and TDEC 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

Rossville City Hall
360 Morrison Road
Rossville, Tennessee 38066

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