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Cleanup Effort at Red River Aluminum Complete

Release Date: 10/11/2001
Contact Information: For more information contact the Office of External Affairs at (214) 665-2200.

       The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Arkansas Department of Environmental Quality (ADEQ) today announced they are finished with cleanup work at the Red River Aluminum site in Stamps, Arkansas.  The EPA, along with state and local officials, has successfully consolidated the saltcake waste and capped the material with protective clay and topsoils to prevent run off of copper to surface waters that once flowed onto surrounding areas. ADEQ will maintain the protective clay cap constructed by EPA to prevent potential erosion, monitor ground water to ensure water quality and develop future plans for the site.
       The Red River Aluminum Company is a bankrupt secondary smelter operation which extracted aluminum from the byproduct of conventional aluminum smelting. The site has been abandoned for several years.  During that period of time, EPA estimates more than 200,000 cubic yards of accumulated salt cake containing elevated levels of copper were exposed to the elements and contaminated nearby soil, surface water and threatened shallow ground water beneath the site.

       On Nov. 7, 2000, EPA began taking action at the site to eliminate the most immediate environmental threats posed by the exposed saltcake materials containing elevated levels of copper.  Immediate action was taken to prevent the copper contaminated runoff from adversely affecting nearby streams and marshes, which also prevented saltcake from being blown by heavy winds into nearby residential areas.  

       EPA's contractors consolidated and leveled piles of saltcake before capping the material with a protective clay barrier.  The protective clay barrier was covered with top soil and seeded with grass to prevent erosion by wind and rain elements in the future.

       ADEQ Director Richard A. Weiss said that the State of Arkansas and EPA successfully worked together to secure the site and address the most pressing public health concerns, and added that the federal government's expenditure of $2 million was vital to halting contamination of the environment surrounding the site. ADEQ's priority will be to continue protection of underground water sources to ensure water quality for the local residents and city.  

       EPA Regional Administrator Gregg Cooke said that ADEQ's plans for maintaining the site show the effectiveness of local and state partnerships.  Cooke is confident that ADEQ's future plans will protect public health and the environment.  

       After nearly one year, EPA and its contractors expect to complete their activities at the site this week.  ADEQ and EPA are coordinating plans for EPA's departure to ensure a smooth transition to ADEQ control of the site.