Oct 20, 2015

EPA Announces Additional Groundwater Investigation at Delaware City PVC Superfund Site

The new investigation will characterize the nature and extent of the contamination and propose alternatives to clean it up

Delaware City PVC superfund EPA groundwater contamination

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced a new investigation to determine the nature and extent of groundwater contamination at the Delaware City PVC Superfund site in New Castle County.

Under an administrative settlement with the EPA, Bayer CropScience L.P. will investigate groundwater contamination in the shallow aquifer east of the PVC plant property and evaluate potential contamination in the deeper aquifer.  These areas of contamination were not addressed by previous remediation work at the site. Bayer CropScience is the successor to Stauffer Chemical Co., which performed the previous cleanup work.

The Superfund site, which was added in 1983 to EPA’s National Priorities List (a list of the most contaminated sites), consists of property where Stauffer operated a PVC manufacturing plant from about 1966 through 1981 and where Formosa Plastics Corp. continued manufacturing operations from about 1981 through the present.

The plant was built in 1966 by Stauffer, which used earthen lagoons and pits to dispose of PVC waste and sludge. Groundwater, which was used locally for drinking water and agricultural purposes, was heavily contaminated with solvent chemicals emanating from the plant.

Stauffer conducted cleanup work beginning in 1982 to address certain groundwater contamination with a pump and treat system that continues to operate today. This work addressed contamination in the uppermost aquifer near the PVC manufacturing facility but did not evaluate the extent of contamination that was later discovered to the east of the plant or in the deeper aquifer. The new investigation will characterize the nature and extent of this contamination and propose alternatives to clean it up. BCS is also required under the agreement to pay EPA’s oversight costs.