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EPA Signs Action Memorandum, Announces Plans for Off-Site Sampling for Contaminants at Carter Carburetor Site

Release Date: 03/30/2011
Contact Information: Chris Whitley, 913-551-7394,

Environmental News


(Kansas City, Kan., March 30, 2011) - EPA Regional Administrator Karl Brooks today signed the Agency’s official Action Memorandum for the Carter Carburetor Site in St. Louis, Mo., placing the polluted industrial property one step closer to a comprehensive cleanup that is estimated to cost at least $27 million.

In a separate but related action, Brooks announced today that in response to the concerns of community members and other stakeholders, EPA Region 7 will sample surface soil, sediment, and air vapor intrusion beyond the boundaries of the site to assess whether contaminants from the former automotive carburetor manufacturing facility may have moved to adjoining properties in the neighborhood, and whether those contaminants are present at levels of concern to health.

Both steps – the signing of the Action Memorandum, and the plans for off-site sampling – are being taken by EPA under the authority of the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act (CERCLA), also known as the Superfund law. Although the Carter Carburetor Site is being cleaned up under the Superfund program, it is not on EPA’s National Priorities List.

Region 7’s off-site sampling efforts, which are expected to begin in May, will not interfere with progress toward a comprehensive environmental remedy for the Carter Carburetor Site, Brooks said.

“EPA’s remedy for the Carter Carburetor Site is law-based, science-based, and will be practical and feasible for taxpayers,” Brooks said. “We intend to begin negotiations immediately with the responsible parties so that they, not taxpayers, will be responsible for the costs of cleanup.”

EPA has identified the responsible parties as Carter Building Incorporated (CBI), which owns the main manufacturing building and the Willco Plastics Building at the site; and ACF Industries, Inc., whose subsidiaries Carter Carburetor Corporation and Carter Automotive Products manufactured carburetors for gasoline- and diesel-powered engines at the site from the 1930s until 1984.

Although numerous chemicals were used in the plant’s manufacturing processes, the primary environmental contaminants of concern that remain are polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), trichloroethylene (TCE) and asbestos. The selected removal action for the site involves thermally-enhanced extraction of PCBs and TCE in subsurface soils, the removal of PCBs in two buildings, the removal of asbestos from various structures, and total or partial demolition of various buildings.

“Protection of human health and the environment are the priorities driving both the cleanup, and the additional off-site environmental sampling,” Brooks said.

A public meeting to share information and answer questions about EPA’s plans for future off-site sampling activities is scheduled for 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. on April 12, 2011, at the Herbert Hoover Boys and Girls Club, 2901 North Grand Avenue, St. Louis, Mo., 63107.

EPA is assuring residents that drinking water in the neighborhood is safe because the City of St. Louis provides it through a secure, enclosed utility system that undergoes regular testing.

Almost all of the off-site sampling will be conducted within one block of the Carter Carburetor Site boundary. The sampling efforts should take about two weeks to complete, and lab analysis of the sampling should be complete within approximately 60 days. Results will be shared with each respective property owner, and a summary report of the results will be provided to the community.

EPA’s administrative record for the Carter Carburetor Site is available for public inspection at three locations:

  • Herbert Hoover Boys and Girls Club, 2901 North Grand Avenue, St. Louis, Mo. 63107
  • St. Louis Public Library – Divoli Branch, 4234 North Grand Avenue, St. Louis, Mo. 63107
  • EPA Region 7 Records Center, 901 North 5th Street, Kansas City, Kan. 66101
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