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Hazardous Waste Cleanup: Flint Group Pigments (Formerly:BASF, XSYS Print Solutions U.S.) in Huntington, West Virginia

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BASF Corporation entered into the Facility Lead Corrective Action Program with a letter of commitment on December 7, 1999.

    Cleanup Status

    A workplan was submitted on June 28, 2000.  EPA reviewed the workplan and provided comments to BASF on May 18, 2001.  A revised workplan was submitted on July 23, 2001. EPA Region III completed its review of the workplan on April 2, 2002 and granted BASF approval to start the investigation. BASF requested approval to do additional groundwater investigation prior to submitting the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) Facility Investigation (RFI) Report. This approval was granted by EPA on February 5, 2003.

    EPA has completed its review of the RFI report which was submitted on August 13, 2003. On January 19, 2007 EPA approved the Phase 2 RFI workplan for further groundwater investigation at the facility.

    The Phase II Field Sampling Plan (FSP) and Quality Assurance Project Plan (QAPP) was approved by EPA on June 29, 2009 and the installation of additional wells was done in July 2009. The RFI Phase II report was submitted on May 14, 2010. A follow-up workplan was submitted to EPA on October 2015. Its purpose was to further define areas of contamination and address data gaps. The work was completed during the summer of 2016. 

    On January 5, 2017, EPA requested BASF to produce a work plan to further  delineate contamination at and from the Facility.

    On August 2, 2017, EPA approved a Data Gap workplan, Vapor Intrusion workplan, and a Public Relations workplan submitted by BASF. The work  to delineate the contaminated soil, vapor intrusion and contaminated groundwater at the Facility is scheduled to start in the fall of 2017.

    The on- and off-Site investigations, the current phases of which were completed in December 2017, were conducted in accordance with USEPA-approved work plans as required by USEPA Region 3 under the authority of the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA).  Both investigations are currently ongoing.

    Site Investigations Details:

    Subsurface Investigation

    Twenty-two off-Site groundwater monitoring wells, twenty-two additional on-Site monitoring wells, and sixteen Membrane Interface Probe (MIP) borings were installed by ELMSS in 2017.  The borings were advanced to depths ranging from thirty-five to sixty feet below ground surface (bgs).  Boring locations selected to be finished as permanent monitoring wells were completed with 2-inch threaded Schedule 40 PVC risers and 10-foot, 0.01-inch slot pre-packed screens. Soil lithologies were logged for each boring. A pervasive clay (clay, silty clay and/or sandy clay) unit was present ranging from approximately eight to twenty feet thick across most of the Site. The clay unit is underlain by permeable alluvial materials consisting of silty sands, clayey sands, and gravels. 

    Groundwater samples were collected during the most recent investigation (2017) at existing and newly installed monitoring wells. Correlation groundwater samples were also collected from 15 of the MIP boring locations as well as 15 supplemental groundwater grab sample locations. In total, ninety-six groundwater samples were collected for laboratory analysis of Site-specific compounds of concern (COCs) including volatile organic compounds (VOCs), semi-volatile organic compounds (SVOCs), polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), and metals. Samples were shipped to Test America Laboratories, Inc. (TestAmerica) in North Canton, Ohio for analysis.

    Vapor Intrustion (VI) Investigation

    The VI investigation was conducted in 2017 and included on-site industrial buildings and off-Site residences within 100 feet of the area where COCs were previously identified at concentrations which exceeded their respective USEPA vapor intrusion screening levels (VISLs). Investigation activities at offsite residential properties (eleven total) involved both outdoor and indoor air sampling.  Depending on the construction of the residence, an air sample of the crawl space or a subslab vapor sample of the basement/slab-on-grade floor was also collected.  Sampling activities at on-site commercial/industrial buildings (Buildings 69 and 92) involved subslab vapor sampling.

    Geosyntec conducted surveys of on- and off-site buildings to determine building construction characteristics, HVAC and ventilation characteristics, building occupancy, and identify potential indoor contaminant sources. Temporary subslab monitoring probes were installed using Vapor Pin sampling ports in Buildings 69 and 92, as well as the three residences with basements/slab-on-grade floors.

    Indoor air samples were collected from eleven residences within the specified area of concern. Additional air samples were collected in the homes with accessible crawlspaces (six total). Samples were collected in batch certified 1 L Summa® canisters. The subslab and indoor air samples were shipped to Eurofins Air Toxics under chain of custody for analysis of VOCs by USEPA Method TO-15.

    Subsurface Results

    Consistent with previous sampling events, groundwater concentrations of chlorinated VOCs (CVOCs), primarily tetrachloroethene (PCE) and trichloroethene (TCE), were detected at concentrations above their respective Maximum Contaminant Levels (MCLs) in on- and off-Site monitoring wells during the 2017 sampling event.  The CVOC plume originates on the Flint property and extends north in the direction of groundwater flow, under the neighboring residential properties.

    Consistent with previous investigations, petroleum-related VOCs (ethylbenzene, toluene and total xylenes) and SVOCs were detected in monitoring wells located in the southern, upgradient portion of the Site, at concentrations above their respective MCLs. These compounds appear to be confined to storage tank area and have not migrated over time. PCBs were not detected above MCLs in any groundwater samples. Sporadic exceedances of various metals were detected throughout the Site.

    There are no known receptors for groundwater contamination in the study area.  Potable water in this area is supplied from the Ohio River through the City of Huntington and there are no surface water features within the Flint property or study area boundaries. Furthermore, the pervasive clay unit identified from approximately eight to twenty feet bgs reduces the potential for vapor from the groundwater plume to migrate through the vadose zone into overlying buildings.

     Vapor Intrustion (VI) Results

    Subslab vapor was collected from three vapor probe locations in on-Site Building 69 (B69-SS-1, B69-SS-2, and B69-SS03). Concentrations of TCE exceeded the VISL of 100 micrograms per cubic meter (ug/m3) in all three sample locations, with concentrations ranging up to 11,000 ug/m3. Concentrations of benzene and PCE exceeded their respective VISLs in one of the three sampling locations. No other COCs were detected at concentrations above their commercial VISLs in this location.

    Subslab vapor was collected from two vapor probe locations in on-Site Building 92 (B92-SS-2 and B92SS-3); a duplicate sample was also collected at B92-SS-3. At sampling location B92-SS-2, Ethylbenzene was the only COC detected in exceedance of its VISL. TCE and carbon tetrachloride were detected in both the primary and duplicate samples collected at B92-SS-3 at concentrations exceeding their VISLs by 3x and 9x, respectively. The concentration of PCE also exceeded the VISL in the duplicate sample from this location. No other COCs were detected above their commercial VISLs at this location.

    Of the eleven residential indoor air samples, PCE was detected in three, but at concentrations below the residential indoor air screening level (IASL). Furthermore, PCE was not detected in crawl space air in any of the corresponding homes, which indicates that VI is not responsible for the PCE detections in indoor air as concentrations in crawl space air would be similar to or higher than indoor air concentrations if vapors were migrating from the subsurface into the structure. PCE was detected in two of the three sub-slab samples (of which one was greater than the VISL, but no indoor air detections were associated with the sub-slab detections, indicating that VI is not occurring.

    Benzene was detected in ten of the residential indoor air samples at levels exceeding indoor air Screening Levels. However, benzene was also detected in all four of the background (outdoor air) samples, of which two were above the IASL. Thus benzene exceedances are likely attributable to internal and/or outdoor background sources. No other COCs were detected in the sampled media at the residential properties at concentrations exceeding their VISLs.

    Conclusions from 2017 Sampling

    Results of the subsurface investigation were consistent with those obtained between 2006 and 2016, confirming that COCs exceed their MCLs in both on- and off-Site groundwater. However, due to lack of receptors, on- and off-Site groundwater contamination is not currently expected to pose a risk to any known receptor.

    The results of the off-Site VI investigation indicate that VI is not occurring in any of the sampled residences.  However, the results of the on-Site investigation suggest that VI may pose a risk to building occupants.  Since operations have ceased and the buildings are unoccupied, there is no current risk; however, the potential for VI would need to be considered if the facility becomes occupied or re-development occurs in the area of the former manufacturing facility.

    Soil sampling in 2018

    In December 2018, HMDA had a qualitative environmental site assessment performed at the Parcels. Soil samples were collected up to three feet deep.  Ninety-eight soil samples were collected.

    Analytical Results and Screening Summary Parcel 43 Surface Soil

    Two analytes, arsenic and a PCB aroclor (Aroclor 1242), were detected exceeding their respective Industrial RSLs. However, arsenic was not detected exceeding its maximum natural background for West Virginia. No other analytes were detected in Parcel 43 surface soil exceeding their respective screening levels.

    Parcel 43 Subsurface Soil

    Arsenic was detected exceeding its Industrial RSLs but was not detected exceeding its maximum natural background for West Virginia. No other analytes were detected in Parcel 43 subsurface soil exceeding their respective screening levels.

    Parcel 45 Surface Soil

    Two analytes, benzo(a)pyrene and Aroclor 1242 (1.34 mg/kg), were detected exceeding their Residential RSL. Arsenic was detected exceeding its Industrial RSL but was not detected exceeding its maximum natural background for West Virginia.  No other analytes were detected in Parcel 45 surface soil exceeding their respective screening levels.

    Discussion of Analytes Exceeding Screening Concentrations

    Three analytes, benzo (a) pyrene, arsenic, and Aroclor 1242, were detected in the Parcels soil exceeding their respective screening levels. Benzo(a) pyrene was detected in one sample exceeding its Residential RSL. Based on the concentration of the detection and its occurrence exceeding the standard in only one of the samples, EPA does not anticipate benzo(a)pyrene to be a COC.

    Arsenic was detected in numerous samples exceeding its Industrial RSL but was not detected exceeding its maximum natural background for West Virginia. 

    On Parcel 45, Aroclor 1242 was detected in surface soil exceeding its Industrial RSL in one sample. On Parcel 43, Aroclor 1242 was found in 31 of 53 surface samples at concentrations exceeding its Industrial RSLs. The highest concentration was 198 mg/kg with a RSL of .95 mg/kg. Aroclor 1242 was not detected beneath any buildings on the Parcels.

    PCB soil sampling performed during September 2019 further delineated and confirmed the locations of the PCB soil contamination.

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    Site Description

    Interactive Map of XSYS Print Solutions US, LLC, Huntington, West Virginia


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    BASF is located in Huntington, West Virginia. The facility occupies 20 acres on both sides of 5th Avenue at 24th Street. The facility began production in 1912. Since the initial development of the facility, there have been several owners/operators: Standard Ultramarine Company, Chemetron Corporation, BASF Corporation and is currently under the ownership of Flint Group Pigments (owned by XSYS Printing Systems). The primary pigment currently manufactured at the Facility is alkali blue.

    The facility consists of 8 Areas of Concern (AOCs) which include a landfill, above-ground storage tanks, electrical transformers and a waste water treatment system. Chemicals of concern include benzene, ethylbenzene, hexachlorobenzene, 1,1,2,2-Tetrachloroethane, toluene, trichloroethene, xylene, aniline, n-nitrosodiphenylamine and polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) (aroclor 1248).

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    Contaminants at this Facility

    Chemicals of concern include benzene, ethylbenzene, hexachlorobenzene, 1,1,2,2-Tetrachloroethane, toluene, trichloroethene, xylene, aniline, n-nitrosodiphenylamine and PCBs (aroclor 1248).

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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

    The facility is in continued use.

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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 West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection.

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