EPA's Region 6 Office
Serving: Arkansas, Louisiana, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Texas, and 66 Tribal Nations
Wood-preserving operations at the Popile site began in 1947. Chemicals used during this period typically included creosote or a mixture of 30 to 50% creosote with petroleum distillate or an asphalt-based residuum oil for wood treatment. The mixture was used to aid the penetration of creosote into the wood. The mixture was applied in pressurized cylinders. In 1958, wood preserving operations at the site included the use of creosote as well as PCP. PCP preserving typically involved pressure treatment with a light carrier oil, such as diesel, containing approximately 5% entrained PCP.
A small impoundment was initially constructed to store process wastewater and sludge from the early operations. By 1964, this impoundment had grown considerably in size and a sludge pit was added. Two additional process impoundments were constructed in 1969. In 1982, wood treatment operations ceased and Popile, Inc. was created to conduct closure activities for the impoundments according to the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA).
The U.S. EPA conducted a Site Assessment in 1989 and found the leakage of contaminants from the RCRA closure units. A Removal Action (RA) was taken at the site under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liabilities Act (CERCLA). The RA consisted of excavating sludge and contaminated soils from the impoundment areas and northern parts of the site and stabilizing these contaminated materials using rice hulls and fly ash, and dismantling the old treatment facilities. Debris and contaminated materials were disposed in two clay lined holding cells in the southern portion of the site. Excavated areas were backfilled with clean soil and reseeded. Drainage ditches and other erosion control measures were also constructed at the site.
The Remedial Investigation and Feasibility Study (RI/FS) was completed
in 1992 and the Record of Decisions (ROD) was signed in 1993. However,
the RI did not sufficiently characterize the subsurface conditions such
as defining contaminant source and its associated groundwater plume. The
New Orleans District of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers was tasked to
perform more detailed site investigations including the Phase I Site Characterization
and Analysis Penetrometer System (SCAPS) in 1997 and the Phase II Groundwater
Investigation and Modeling in 1998.