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Hazardous Waste Cleanup: Former GM Delco Plant 5, Kokomo, Indiana

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The public comment period for the  Former GM Delco Plant 5 Facility Statement of Basis will be closing on March 17, 2021. Please use the public comment form to send your comments to Kirstin Safakas by March 17, 2021. For more  complete information, please see the Administrative Record


Congress amended the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) in November 1984, expanding the Act's cleanup provisions and prompting EPA and its state partners to develop the RCRA Corrective Action Program. The program oversees the investigation and cleanup of nearly 4,000 hazardous waste sites across the country, including many with risks comparable to Superfund sites.

The Former GM Delco Plant 5 (the “site”) is a 10.5-acre vacant parcel located in Kokomo, Indiana. General Motors’ (GM) purchased the facility in 1953 to assemble and test circuit boards. The site was used for this purpose until its closure in 1991.

Cleanup Status

The site has undergone an investigation to determine if contamination is present. The purpose of a Corrective Action Remedial Facility Investigation (“RFI”) is to determine whether hazardous waste or hazardous constituents were released into the environment at a facility, and if so, to evaluate the significance of the releases in terms of risk to human health and the environment. Most investigations take place over multiple phases. As more information is gathered, the phased process identifies data gaps and the need for additional sampling.

During the investigation phases, environmental media such as soil and groundwater are sampled and analyzed for contamination. The primary contaminant found at the site is trichloroethene (TCE) but also includes contaminants related to TCE. These include cis- and trans-1,2-dichloroethene (DCE) and vinyl chloride (VC). These contaminants are present at the site in soil and groundwater. Contaminated groundwater has also migrated to an area beyond the property boundary.

The data gathered during a RFI is evaluated in risk assessments. Risk assessments are the means by which EPA evaluates the information and data collected during the investigation to determine whether the contamination present poses a risk. This can be done in a human health risk assessment (HHRA) and/or an ecological risk assessment. This site is a vacant 10-acre lot without any ecological habitat on it or nearby; therefore, this site only required a human health risk assessment.

Based upon the results of the risk assessment, EPA has considered several potential cleanup options that will address the contamination. EPA will be proposing the recommended cleanup alternative soon. That proposed cleanup will be presented to the public in an EPA document called the “Statement of Basis.” The publication of the Statement of Basis will provide the public with an opportunity to read about the proposed cleanup and submit questions or comments during a public participation period. The comments gathered during the public participation period will be used by EPA to make the final cleanup selection.

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Site Description

The now vacant site is zoned Industrial/Manufacturing and was historically used for a variety of purposes dating back to 1915, such as: automobile parts and assembly; the manufacturing of radio cabinets; manufacturing of women’s clothing; and packing parachutes during World War II.  The site was operated by GM for the assembly and testing of circuit boards between 1953 and 1991, when the facility closed.

Prior to its closing, the operational buildings occupied approximately 144,000 square feet (sq ft) of floor space.   Demolition, including the removal of the floor slab, was completed in 1993.  The property was donated to the Kokomo-Howard County Development Corporation (KHDC) in February of 1999.  In December of 2003, the KHDC transferred the Facility back to GM. 

As a result of GM’s June 2009 bankruptcy, existing, non-continuing assets remain the property of “old” GM, which changed its name to Motors Liquidation Company (MLC) in its capacity as a debtor-in-possession in the bankruptcy case.  On March 31, 2011, the RACER Trust became effective.  On that date, all assets and cleanup funding that had been the responsibility of MLC were transferred to RACER Trust.  RACER Trust is responsible for completing the Corrective Action activities at this Facility in accordance with the Cost Estimate and Settlement Agreement that are the basis for the Trust. 

Figure of Kokomo, Indiana is located approximately 60 miles north of Indianapolis. The Former GM site is about 2 miles north of Wildcat Creek.Kokomo, Indiana is located approximately 60 miles north of Indianapolis. The Former GM site is about 2 miles north of Wildcat Creek.
figure of The site is a vacant 10.5-acre parcel of property with a parking lot located on the north side, as outlined. The property immediately to the south, the small triangle shaped property, is the former Midwest Plating Superfund siteThe site is a vacant 10.5-acre parcel of property with a parking lot located on the north side, as outlined. The property immediately to the south, the small triangle shaped property, is the former Midwest Plating Superfund site.
 
 

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Contaminants at this Facility

Over the course of the investigation approximately 480 soil samples were collected, and 1,166 groundwater samples collected. Additional investigation was conducted at the adjacent property during the RFI to determine any contributions from a former Superfund site to the south. The RFI was conducted in four phases and the investigations are summarized below by areas of investigation (AOIs).

Upgradient Groundwater Evaluation

The Upgradient investigation activities consisted of installing four monitoring wells (MW-0501-P1, MW-0501-S2, and MW-0501-S3U) upgradient from the former Facility operations. Vinyl chloride (VC), a degradation product of TCE, was detected at one location during one sampling event. Subsequent sampling events and other locations in this area did not detect VC above screening criteria.

AOI 2

The scope of the RFI work completed at AOI 2 involved the sampling of an existing monitoring well (MW-0103-S1U) during Phases II and IV of the RFI to evaluate groundwater quality in AOI 2.  TCE, cis-1,2-dichloroethene (DCE), and vinyl chloride were detected at concentrations above their respective drinking water criteria.

AOI 3

The scope of investigation for this area included the installation of six groundwater monitoring wells and the advancement of over 100 soil borings. Lead, TCE, tetrachloroethene (PCE), cis-1,2-DCE, methylene chloride, and vinyl chloride were detected in soil at concentrations above the industrial Preliminary Remediation Goal (PRG), industrial volatilization to indoor air, and/or migration to groundwater criteria for soil within AOI 3 during the RFI.  Soil concentrations exceeding these soil criteria are bounded by locations with lower concentrations within AOI 3 or by AOIs to the north and east of AOI 3.  Cadmium, TCE, cis-1,2-DCE, and vinyl chloride were detected at concentrations above the drinking water criteria in AOI 3.  Downgradient from AOI 3, cadmium, TCE, cis-1,2-DCE, and vinyl chloride are bounded by monitoring wells that do not exhibit concentrations higher than the drinking water criteria. 

AOI 5

The scope of the RFI at AOI 5 involved the advancement of 15 soil borings and the installation and sampling of 10 monitoring wells to characterize soil and water quality.  TCE was detected in soil at concentrations above the Industrial PRG, industrial volatilization to indoor air, and/or migration to groundwater criteria for soil.  Soil concentrations exceeding these soil criteria are bounded by locations with decreasing concentrations within AOI 5 or by AOIs to the east of AOI 5.  TCE, cis-1,2-DCE, trans-1,2-DCE, 1,1-DCE, and vinyl chloride were detected at concentrations above their respective drinking water criteria in AOI 5.  Downgradient from AOI 5, TCE, cis-1,2-DCE, trans-1,2-DCE, 1,1-DCE, and vinyl chloride are bounded by monitoring wells that do not exhibit concentrations higher than their respective drinking water criteria.

AOI 6

Investigation activities in this area involved the advancement of 18 soil borings and the installation and sampling of four monitoring wells. TCE and PCE were detected in soil at concentrations above the industrial PRG, industrial volatilization to indoor air, and/or migration to groundwater criteria for soil.  Soil concentrations exceeding these soil criteria are bounded by locations within AOI 6.  TCE, cis-1,2-DCE, and vinyl chloride were detected at concentrations above their respective drinking water criteria in AOI 6.  Downgradient from AOI 6, TCE, cis-1,2-DCE, and vinyl chloride are bounded by monitoring wells that do not exhibit concentrations higher than their respective groundwater screening criteria.

AOI 7

The scope of the RFI at AOI 7 involved the advancement of 15 soil borings, the installation and sampling of five monitoring wells, and sampling of an existing monitoring well to characterize soil and water quality. TCE was detected in soil at concentrations above the Industrial PRG, industrial volatilization to indoor air, and/or migration to groundwater criteria for soil.  Soil concentrations exceeding these soil criteria are bounded by locations within AOI 7.  TCE, cis-1,2-DCE, and vinyl chloride were detected at concentrations above their respective drinking water criteria groundwater.  Downgradient from AOI 7, TCE, cis-1,2-DCE, and vinyl chloride are bounded by monitoring wells that do not exhibit concentrations higher than their respective drinking water criteria. 

Off-Site East

The Off-Site East Investigation consisted of monitoring wells, soil borings, and soil gas vapor ports located downgradient and to the east of the former Facility.  The scope of the RFI completed as part of the Off-Site East investigation included the advancement of nine soil borings, the installation and sampling of 22 monitoring wells, and the installation and sampling of 11 soil gas ports.  No soil constituent concentrations exceeded soil screening criteria.  The Off-Site East Investigation consisted of monitoring wells, soil borings, and soil gas vapor ports located downgradient and to the east of the former Facility.  The scope of the RFI completed as part of the Off-Site East investigation included the advancement of nine soil borings, the installation and sampling of 22 monitoring wells, and the installation and sampling of 11 soil gas ports.  No soil constituent concentrations exceeded soil screening criteria. 

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Institutional and Engineering Controls at this Facility

Information regarding institutional controls and engineering controls will be provided when EPA proposes the cleanup alternative. 

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Land Reuse Information at this Facility

Currently, there are no plans for site redevelopment; however, it is anticipated that the site will be cleaned for future commercial or industrial reuse.

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Site Responsiblity at this Facility

The RCRA Corrective Action program is designated the lead agency as the entity that oversees the investigation and cleanup work. The program was designed to reduce the number of tax-payer Superfund sites. Therefore, the company (RACER Trust in this case) is responsible for the cost and implementation of work. EPA oversees and must approve of all work conducted under the program.

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