Jun 20, 2018

Treatment Begins at Asheville, N.C., Superfund Site

Electrical resistance heating is being used to extract 95% of trichloroethane soil and groundwater contamination

Groundwater contamination cleanup underway in North Carolina
Groundwater contamination cleanup underway in North Carolina

Treatment commenced to remove contaminants in the groundwater and soil at an Asheville, N.C., superfund site, a former CTS Corp. plant. Electrical resistance heating (ERH) is being used to treat a 1.2 acre area beneath the former CTS plant. The system will operate through the fall of 2018 designed to extract 95% of the trichloroethene (TCE) in the treatment area, removing an estimated 20,000 lb. of pollutants.

Historical use of solvents in the manufacturing of electronic components contaminated the CTS site with TCE. The area being treated also contains non-aqueous phase liquid (NAPL) from weathered fuel oil. ERH is a technology that heats the ground to extract and treat these types of hazardous substances. Electricity runs through electrodes, heating the soil and groundwater to vaporize contaminants. The vapors are removed through extraction wells and treated before being discharged to the ambient air, which will be monitored.

System startup and testing began on May 29, 2018, and reached full operating power June 8. The ERH treatment at the CTS Site is required under a March 7, 2017 settlement between the U.S. EPA and the U.S. Department of Justice with CTS Corp., Mills Gap Road Associates and Northrop Grumman Systems Corp. for an interim cleanup. The settlement also requires In-Situ Chemical Oxidation (ISCO) to treat TCE in an approximately 1.9 acre area to the north of the area being treated by ERH. The companies will spend an estimated $9 million total on the interim cleanup. A final site-wide cleanup will be selected in the future to address any contamination remaining after the ERH and ISCO technologies have had a chance to work over several years.