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Hazardous Waste Cleanup: Chemours Belle Plant (Formerly: DuPont) in Belle, West Virginia

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In September 1998 EPA issued the Corrective Action portion of the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) Permit (HSWA Permit No. WVD 005012851) to DuPont. The Corrective Action portion of the permit requires DuPont to conduct investigations of potential releases of hazardous waste and to determine if corrective measures are necessary.

    Cleanup Status

    DuPont began implementing the RCRA Facility Investigation (RFI) field program in March 2000. Phase I of the RFI investigation was directed toward areas which likely posed the greatest threat to human health or the environment. The activities included installing monitoring wells, and sampling soil, sediment, and groundwater. In late 2002 DuPont implemented a Phase II investigation to identify the sources and the extent of impacted groundwater from these three areas.

    In 2002 DuPont began evaluating remedial technologies to clean up a known area of impacted soil and groundwater in the northern portion of the Plant Area. This area, referred to as the Benzol Process Area, is located adjacent to the Kanawha River. The soil and groundwater is impacted with oily material from an underground tank, which was associated with the former benzol process, and has since been removed. In March 2005, DuPont began operating a dual phase extraction system in the Benzol Process Area and in another source area referred to as the SSS Process Area. The dual phase systems continue to operate at both of these areas on a periodic basis.

    DuPont has collected several surface water samples in the Kanawha River to assess whether source areas located near the river are adversely impacting the surface water quality. The results of the Kanawha River sampling indicate that the contaminated groundwater is not adversely impacting the surface water quality.

    To evaluate impacted groundwater related to former disposal areas in the Mountain Area portion of the site, DuPont sampled water from several private home wells around the facility. The results indicated that the impacted groundwater is not affecting any residential wells. In addition, the facility has developed a groundwater model to assist in understanding the complex groundwater flow patterns of this area and to assess cleanup options. Additional wells were installed in the Mountain Area in the fall of 2004. In 2005 the new wells were sampled and environmental forensics was used to assess the nature of the widespread groundwater contamination. The results of the environmental forensics combined with the groundwater model and contaminant data indicated there are sources beyond DuPont that are contributing to groundwater contamination in the Mountain area.

    Field work in 2007 focused on characterizing solid waste managements units located within the Mountain Area portion of the site. In the Spring of 2007, DuPont completed geophysical testing in the mountain area, the first phase of this work. That effort was followed up by test pits, soil sampling and groundwater sampling.

    In 2012 the RFI phase of work was completed for the Mountain Area and a Screening Level Ecological Risk Assessment was performed, submitted and ultimately approved by EPA and West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection (WVDEP).  A Corrective Measures Study (CMS) was submitted and approved by EPA/WVDEP for the Mountain Area.  The CMS was presented to EPA/WVDEP in a meeting held March 11, 2014,  wherein storm water management and enhancing cover of existing “waste-in-place” areas was proposed. On June 1, 2015, WVDEP issued a Statement of Basis (SB) in which a Final Remedy for the Facility was proposed. DEP's Final Remedy for the Mountain Area consists of storm water management, groundwater monitoring, engineering controls consisting of capping, fencing, and institutional controls to implement land and groundwater use restrictions.  The 30-day public comment period ended on July 1, 2015 without comment and the Permit will subsequently be modified by WVDEP.

    A work plan for a Phase IV RCRA Facility Investigation (RFI) investigation was submitted to EPA and WVDEP for characterizing potential contamination from all accessible area at the plant site. EPA and DuPont amended the details of the work plan and site work consisting of soil sampling began the first week of November 2012, and continued through 2014.  Phase IV RFI fieldwork including installing temporary well points and groundwater sampling of the well points was conducted in November 2014, to fill RFI data gaps. Data reduction of the Phase IV RFI results continues; analysis and evaluation of these data are ongoing.

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    Site Description

    Interactive Map of Chemours Belle Plant, Belle, West Virginia


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    The DuPont Belle Plant is located in Belle, West Virginia, approximately eight miles east of Charleston, West Virginia. The 723-acre site is situated along the Kanawha River and has manufactured various specialty and agricultural chemical products since 1926. The Belle Plant is located in an area that consists of industrial, commercial, and residential land use. A former Occidental Chemical Corporation industrial facility is located immediately adjacent to the site's eastern boundary. DuPont employs approximately 400 people at the Belle site. The facility has seven primary operating divisions that span a 105-acre manufacturing area that is nearly one mile in length.

    An additional 618-acres owned by DuPont is situated just north of the site across Route 60 and is referred to as the Mountain Area. A portion of the Mountain Area is set aside as a Wildlife Habitat Area. The DuPont Belle Plant wildlife team manages 490 acres of undeveloped property. This program has been company certified for many years and has worked with the community to promote habitat in this area. These habitat enhancements include: planting trees and cool season grasses to provide food resources and cover for wildlife, constructing nesting structures for birds and mammals, developing three ponds, and establishing and maintaining a wildflower plot.

    DuPont achieved the human health environmental indicator in 2003, and the groundwater environmental indicator in 2005.

    Effective February 1, 2015, ownership of the Belle plant site was transferred to Chemours Company FC, LLC (Chemours) via a corporate reorganization of the DuPont Performance Chemicals businesses currently owned and operated by DuPont. Chemours will become a totally separate publicly traded company on July 1, 2015.

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    Contaminants at this Facility

    Volatile and semi-volatile organic compounds are the main constituents found in the site's soil and groundwater. These compounds primarily consist of acetone, benzene, 2-butanone, phenol, toluene, and xylene.

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    Institutional and Engineering Controls at this Facility

      The need for Institutional Controls has yet to be determined.

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      Land Reuse Information at this Facility

      Approximately 423 acres of site are in reuse.

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      Site Responsibility at this Facility

      RCRA Corrective Action activities at this facility have been conducted under the direction of  EPA Region 3 with assistance from the WV DEP.

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