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First Phase of Interim Cleanup Completed at CTS Superfund Site in Asheville, N.C.

Contact Information: 
Davina Marraccini (
404-562-8293, 404-562-8400

ATLANTA (November 16, 2018) – A significant milestone was reached this week in the cleanup of the CTS of Asheville, Inc. Superfund Site (Site). The first phase of the interim cleanup to address contaminants beneath the former CTS plant has been completed – removing approximately 5,600 pounds of trichloroethene (TCE) and over 12,000 gallons of light non-aqueous phase liquid (LNAPL) safely from the subsurface.

Electrical resistance heating (ERH) took place between June 8 and Nov. 10, 2018. ERH is a technology that heats the ground to extract and treat hazardous substances. Electricity runs through electrodes, heating the soil and groundwater to vaporize the contaminants. The vapors are captured and removed through extraction wells, then treated above ground before being discharged to the air.

The goal of the first phase of the cleanup was to reduce the TCE pre-treatment concentrations in saturated soil and groundwater by 95 percent in the 1.2-acre treatment area beneath the former CTS plant. The average TCE concentration in saturated soil was reduced from 59,496 parts per billion (ppb) to 1,318 ppb, a 97.8% reduction. The average TCE concentration in groundwater was reduced from 16,523 ppb to 736 ppb, a 95.5 percent reduction. The total pounds of TCE removed was less than the original 20,000 pounds estimated. This indicates that there were fewer pounds of TCE in the saturated soil and groundwater than anticipated.

The heating has been turned off now that cleanup goals have been met, and the above-ground treatment system components will be dismantled and removed from the site beginning in late November.

The ERH treatment at the CTS Site was required under a March 7, 2017, interim cleanup settlement between EPA and the U.S. Department of Justice with CTS Corporation, Mills Gap Road Associates and Northrop Grumman Systems Corporation. The settlement also requires in-situ chemical oxidation (ISCO) to treat TCE in an approximately 1.9-acre area to the north of the area that was treated by ERH. The cleanup plan was expanded to include this second phase in response to public input.

A treatability study for the ISCO portion of the cleanup is underway. The treatment design and cleanup will be conducted in 2019.

The companies will spend an estimated $9 million total on the ERH and ISCO phases of the interim cleanup. The interim cleanup will be followed by a final site-wide cleanup to address any contamination remaining after the ERH and ISCO technologies have had a chance to work, which will take several years. EPA and the potentially responsible parties will complete the Remedial Investigation/Feasibility Study to evaluate options for the final remedy. EPA will then propose the plan to the public for input before selecting the final remedy.

Under the Trump Administration, the Superfund program has reemerged as a top priority to advance the Agency’s core mission of protecting human health and the environment.

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