Hazardous Waste Cleanup: Dupont Potomac River Works in Falling Waters, West Virginia

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A Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) Facility Assessment (RFA) conducted in 1990 identified 50 solid waste management units (SWMUs) (including subareas) and one area of concern (AOC) at the plant. Of these 51 areas, 26 were identified in the RFA as needing further investigation to determine whether a release had occurred or to determine the nature and extent of past releases.  In 1999, EPA issued a RCRA Corrective Action Permit to the DuPont Potomac River Works, which requires the facility to conduct investigations and determine if cleanup activities are necessary.

    Cleanup Status

    DuPont addressed the first requirement of the permit by submitting the "Release Assessment/RCRA Facility Investigation Workplan" in June 1999. The workplan was designed to evaluate soil and groundwater quality beneath/near several areas on the facility property. EPA approved the workplan and, in October 2000, DuPont initiated implementation of the field program. The investigation included sampling soil and groundwater to determine if releases to the environment had occurred, evaluating the site geology and hydro geology , and assessing the site surface water characteristics.

    After DuPont concluded the field work described in the workplan, Dupont submitted a report to EPA in November 2002. The report included results of the field investigation and a proposal for further investigation to address identified data gaps. In September 2003 EPA determined that both Environmental Indicators, Ground water Migration Under Control and Current Human Exposures Under Control, had been achieved at this facility. Dupont completed a second phase of investigation in early 2008 and submitted a comprehensive report of the results in early 2010 for EPA review.

    A third phase of investigation was conducted in the summer of 2010. Field activities (monitoring well installations and groundwater, soil, surface-water, and sediment sampling) were performed in July/August 2010 and December 2010. In March 2011, DuPont and URS met with EPA and West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection (WVDEP) to review the data collected in 2010 and resolve outstanding comments related to the SLERA. After review of the preliminary data with the agencies, additional sampling was performed for groundwater in the vicinity of monitoring well W-54 and for soils in the area of VIA C. This additional sampling was performed between October 2011 and January 2012. An RA and RCRA Facility Investigation (RFI) were conducted as part of the Phase III investigation.

    June 2012 DuPont submitted the Phase III RFI report presenting the results of the Release Assessment and RFI activities that have been conducted to date. Twenty-one SWMUs, one AOC, and 12 voluntary investigation areas (VIAs) have been investigated as part of the RFI.  The report presents the results of the latest phase of investigation along with previous RFI findings in one comprehensive document. The report documents the nature and extent of impacted media at each unit identified for RA or an RFI at the site. The report was approved by EPA December 20, 2013 and a Corrective Measures Study (CMS) was requested to remediate those areas with unacceptable risks to human health and the environment.  The CMS is scheduled to be submitted November 2014.

    DuPont Potomac River Works maintains an open dialog with the local community through frequent meetings and informational mailings.

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    Site Description

    Interactive Map of Dupont Potomac River Works, Falling Waters, West Virginia

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    The DuPont PRW site is located on U.S. Route 11 in Berkeley County at Falling Waters, West Virginia. The site is currently 1,221 acres in size. Prior to DuPont acquiring this property, it was primarily woodlands or farmlands owned by various private landowners.

    It was built between 1950 and 1952 and began operations in 1953. From 1953 to 1977, the plant manufactured nitroglycerine (NG) and dynamite. Water gel explosives were manufactured at the plant in the 1970s, and ammonia nitrate fuel oil explosives were manufactured at the plant in the 1970s and 1980s. Flexible explosives were also manufactured up to 1994.

    In 1994 DuPont ceased all explosive-manufacturing operations. Current operations at the plant consist of the manufacturing and assembly of Fasloc® cartridges, which are non-explosive roof bolt grouting systems that are used in mining and construction.  The Fasloc manufacturing area is leased and operated by DSI (Fasloc, Inc.).

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    Contaminants at this Facility

    The main constituents found in the site's soil and groundwater include nitrates, a few volatile organic compounds such as methylene chloride, and 1,2-Dichloroethane and lead. Some areas where spills occurred, are potentially contaminated with explosive compounds such as nitroglycerin.

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    Institutional and Engineering Controls at this Facility

      The need for Institutional Controls is yet to be determined.

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      Land Reuse Information at this Facility

      There is an unused parcel on the facility which also maintains its current 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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