PCB Remediation in Soil at Operating Rubber Manufacturing Facility


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PCB Remediation in Soil at Operating Rubber Manufacturing Facility

Polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) are synthetic organic compounds that were historically produced in large quantities for a variety of applications. Use of PCBs has been banned in the U.S. for several decades due to their toxicity and recalcitrant nature when released to the environment. During pre-excavation characterization of soils at a rubber manufacturing facility, elevated concentrations of PCBs were discovered. The source of the PCBs was unknown to the facility.

Based on evaluation of past facility practices, multi-media sampling throughout the site, and interviews with facility personnel, Cox-Colvin determined that the source of the PCBs was the result of historical road oiling for dust suppression. Only one general location of the facility was impacted with PCBs, and was further delineated for nature and extent. Cox-Colvin assisted the facility and legal team in selection of a remedial approach within the constraints of EPA’s Self Implementing Cleanup Plan for bulk remediation waste in a low occupancy area [40 CFR Part 761(a)(4)]. The selected alternative involved excavation and removal of approximately 2,500 tons of PCB contaminated soil above a concentration of 1 ppm.

Cox-Colvin guided the excavation work through use of PCB field test kits to provide real-time data, which limited laboratory costs, the volumes of soil to be disposed, and reduced the cleanup time frame. Various logistical considerations for loading of trucks were also implemented to reduce cross contamination and excessive decontamination procedures. Both solid waste and TSCA waste were generated for off-site disposal. After achieving the 1 ppm cleanup standard throughout the impacted area, the site was restored to the original grade and surfaces. Due to an ongoing site-wide cleanup and a pending civil suit, work was conducted with heightened regulatory agency oversight and public scrutiny.