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Hazardous Waste Cleanup: GM Bedford Global Propulsion Systems (GPS) - Bedford, Indiana

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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. 

Since 2001, the GM CET facility has been investigating and remediating the facility and surrounding properties under the RCRA Corrective Action Program in coordination with other EPA and State of Indiana Environmental Programs. The primary contaminant of concern is Polychlorinated Biphenyl (PCB).

    Cleanup Status

    On-Site - Completed

    • Construction of a Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) Cell (Vault) to contain PCB materials exceeding 50 milligrams per kilogram (mg/kg) PCB excavated from areas at the plant.
    • Construction of a multi-layer RCRA engineered cover system over the approximately 40-acre eastern portion of the site (East Plant Area) after removal of accessible greater than 50 mg/kg PCB soils and placement of less than 50 mg/kg materials from the off-site Bailey’s Branch/Pleasant Run removal action to prevent water infiltration into underlying residual PCB impacted soils and bedrock.
    • Construction of a multi-layer RCRA engineered cover system and an asphalt/clay cover over an area west of GM Drive (Area of Interest (AOI) 21-2) after removal of accessible greater than 50 mg/kg PCB soils and placement of less than 50 mg/kg materials from the off-site Bailey’s Branch/Pleasant Run removal action to prevent water infiltration into underlying residual PCB impacted soils and bedrock.
    • Installation of PCB impacted groundwater collection systems (Site Source Control Systems):
      • Outfall 002 trench collection system
      • Pilot cut of the East Plant Area perimeter bedrock trench groundwater collection system
      • Other interim groundwater collection systems
    • Construction of a water treatment plant for Site Source Control collection systems (National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) Permit No. IN0064424 (Outfall 004)).
    • Stormwater Pond dredging and upgrading activities (AOI-10).

    On-Site - Ongoing

    • In-plant and Industrial Wastewater Treatment Plant (WWTP) renovation with off-site disposal and decontamination of PCB impacted materials.
    • RCRA Facility Investigation
    • Semi-annual groundwater monitoring (Environmental Indicator CA750)
    • Inspection and maintenance of engineered Cover Systems at the East and West Plant Areas.
    • Inspection and maintenance of TSCA Vault.
    • Quarterly off-site spring water sampling (Spring 18).
    • Site Source Control groundwater collection system and Vault collection system treatment at the NPDES permitted water treatment plant.
    • Installation of AOI-8 PCB contaminated bedrock Dense Non-Aqueous Phase Liquid (DNAPL/heavy oil) Recovery System.

    On-Site - Pending

    • Additional Plant Industrial WWTP upgrades involving decommissioning of potentially PCB impacted equipment and materials.
    • Additional investigation of groundwater in WWTP area west of GM Drive.
    • Performance monitoring plan for pilot cut of East Plant Area perimeter bedrock trench groundwater collection system.
    • Design of additional sections of East Plant Area perimeter bedrock trench groundwater collection system.

    Off-Site - Completed

    • Remediation of PCB contaminated materials from approximately 5 miles of the Bailey’s Branch/Pleasant Run creek system and properties adjacent to the creek system is complete. Restoration of the final downstream properties is complete.
    • Remediation of PCB contaminated materials from unnamed tributaries west and north of the Plant and restoration is complete.

    Off-Site -Pending

    • Excavation and off-site disposal of PCB impacted fill materials at off-site Parcels 400/430/431.
    • Additional Bailey’s Branch creek-bed concrete sealing activities.                                                                                                              

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    Site Description

    The Facility is bordered: to the north by residential and undeveloped areas; to the south by the White River Port Authority (former Canadian and Pacific Railway railroad tracks have been removed) and Bedford Recycling (formerly IMCO, a Kaiser Aluminum recycling facility) and residential properties; to the east by residential property and undeveloped areas; and to the west by the abandoned railway, church, residential

    properties, commercial properties, and a cemetery. The Facility was historically utilized as a stone mill circa 1890 to 1942, at which time the U.S. Government acquired the Facility and leased it to GMC for operations as an aluminum foundry. GMC purchased the property in 1946 and the Facility has been operated by GMC and GM as a foundry since that time. Surrounding areas include zoning for industrial, commercial, and residential land use.

    GM prepared a Current Conditions Report to describe the current and historical conditions at the Facility resulting from treatment, storage, or disposal of hazardous waste or hazardous constituents. Those areas with the potential for a release to the environment were identified as Areas of Interest (AOIs).

    Facility is located on the northeast side of the City of Bedford at 105 GM Drive, Bedford, Shawswick Township, Lawrence County, Indiana 47421. The Facility contains approximately 1,080,000 square feet of floor space and is located on 152 acres of land on either side of GM Drive and extending north along Bailey Scales Road and currently employs approximately 600 to 700 people.

    Twenty-four on-Facility AOIs were initially identified on the basis of past treatment, storage, or disposal of hazardous waste or hazardous constituents having a release or the potential for release to the environment. Subsequent Off-Facility AOIs were identified at later dates during the investigation activities.                               

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    Contaminants at this Facility

    The primary contaminant is PCB; however other organic and inorganic contaminants have been detected (e.g. Vinyl Chloride, Lead).

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    Institutional and Engineering Controls at this Facility

    The site is currently zoned for Light and Heavy Industry. As part of the RCRA Corrective Action, an additional Environmental Restrictive Covenant will be recorded for the property.

    Various engineering controls are in place including groundwater collection systems, a DNAPL/heavy oil recovery system, and engineered cover systems.

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    Land Reuse Information at this Facility

    The property is to remain an active manufacturing facility and will be restricted to industrial use in perpetuity.

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    Site Responsiblity at this Facility

    RCRA Corrective Action activities are currently taking place under U.S. EPA lead via a Federally issued Administrative Order on Consent that became effective in 2014 with support from the Indiana Department of Environmental Management.

    The U.S. EPA Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA) program, known also as Superfund, has been involved with this facility primarily to address off-site contamination issues. In 2017, the CERCLA Program negotiated a new Administrative Order on Consent for this facility.

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