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NPL Site Narrative for Penta Wood Products

Daniels, Wisconsin

Federal Register Notice:  June 17, 1996 (PDF) (23 pp, 335K, About PDF)

Conditions at Proposal (October 1995): The Penta Wood Products (PWP) facility covers 88.5 acres of a 122.5-acre property located on Highway 70 in the Town of Daniels, 2 miles west of the Village of Siren in a rural area of Burnett County in northwest Wisconsin. PWP was a wood treating facility that operated from 1953 to May 1992. The operations on site included pressure treating timbers and posts with pentachlorophenol (PCP) in a fuel oil carrier, and Chemonite (ammoniacal copper zinc arsenate [ACZA] and ammoniacal copper arsenate [ACA]). Hazardous wastewater from the site operations was discharged to two lagoons and a woodchip pile. Numerous isolated spills and poor work practices released wood treating chemicals to the soils and ground water at the site with little or no response action taken. On-site soils are contaminated with PCP, arsenic, copper, and zinc. The highly contaminated areas are located in and around the former treatment buildings. Due to the high permeability of surficial soils, precipitation on site flows rapidly through the soil to the aquifer, allowing contaminants in the surface soils to be carried rapidly to the ground water.

High levels of PCP and arsenic were detected in ground water and soils on site in 1988. Dioxins, associated with PCP, are a lesser concern at the site and are still under investigation. High levels of PCP in the ground water forced closure of the on-site wells for drinking purposes in 1988. The contaminated aquifer is currently used for a private water supply for 1661 people and a municipal well supply for 1682 people within a 4-mile radius of the site. Ecological risk evaluations prepared by the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (WDNR) and EPA Region 5 indicate the arsenic and PCP levels in the site soils and woodchip pile pose a potential threat to animals on and adjacent to the site.

WDNR became involved at PWP in 1986 due to the unreported spills associated with the treatment process. The PWP facility was closed in May 1992 due to the financial inability to comply with Wisconsin Department of Justice requirements.

Due to the imminent and substantial threat to public health and welfare and the environment posed by the large volumes and high concentrations of PCP, arsenic found in liquids and sludges in tanks and soils, and trace dioxin contamination, a time-critical Removal Action Memorandum was drafted. EPA has completed Phase I of the time-critical removal action, which included disposal of process wastes from tanks and removal of highly contaminated soil. Phase II will address the remaining ACA/PCP soils and sludge and complete the decontamination of tanks for disposal.

This site is part of an EPA nation-wide study on presumptive remedies for wood treating sites. EPA has begun a two-phase study to determine the extent of contamination of the ground water and soils on site, and conduct treatability studies investigating the potential for bioremediation technologies to treat the soils on site.

Status (June 1996): All drummed wastes have been removed from the site. EPA will initiate removing process sludge, decontaminating tanks, and disposing of remaining wastes. EPA may also address PCP-contaminated soils, demolish process buildings, and dispose of pressure-treatment vessels. Additional ecological studies are planned.

For more information about the hazardous substances identified in this narrative summary, including general information regarding the effects of exposure to these substances on human health, please see the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) ToxFAQs. ATSDR ToxFAQs can be found on the Internet at ATSDR - ToxFAQs (http://www.atsdr.cdc.gov/toxfaqs/index.asp) or by telephone at 1-888-42-ATSDR or 1-888-422-8737.

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