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EPA Finalizes Cabot-Koppers Superfund Cleanup Plan

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has released its final cleanup plan (pdf) for the Cabot-Koppers Superfund site in Gainesville, Fla.

On Wednesday, the EPA released its 703-page Record of Decision, a document explaining the remedial treatment options the agency selected for cleaning up the site, which hosted a wood-treating facility and charcoal plant.

The agency based its decisions partly on the suggestions of the Alachua County Health Department, Alachua County Environmental Protection Department, Gainesville City Manager’s Office and Gainesville Regional Utilities.

The document identifies Beazer East, the corporate successor of Koppers Corp., as a potentially responsible party for the contamination of the site with arsenic, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons and creosote compounds. The company will be required to clean up soil, sediment, groundwater and surface water contamination from the site.

The agency estimates the remediation work will cost the company $63.16 million, less than the $65 million the preliminary plan called for. The EPA is finalizing a consent decree with Beazer East, which must be approved in federal court before the remediation work can begin.

Cabot Carbon, the other responsible party at the site, entered into a consent decree with the EPA in 1991. The eastern half of the site, where the company once produced charcoal, is now a Winn-Dixie shopping plaza.

Area residents protested last summer after the EPA released its preliminary plan, calling it a “cover-up” because it would leave contaminated soil at the site by covering it with an impermeable engineered cap and surrounding it with 65-foot deep vertical barrier walls, the Gainesville Sun reports. This aspect of the cleanup remains unchanged in the final plan.

But in an EPA statement announcing the release of the final report, the agency said “nearby residential and commercial properties where soil contamination is identified will be cleaned up to the most conservative standard based on appropriate land use (e.g., residential properties will be cleaned up to meet stringent residential standards).”

According to the EPA, once cleanup is complete, the site will be ready for commercial, industrial or recreational use, or mixed-use with a residential component.

The Cabot Carbon/Koppers Site also included the Koppers Wood Treating Company, that operated from 1916 until 2009. During its operation, the facility treated utility poles with creosote, pentachlorophenol and copper-chromated arsenic.

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