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EPA to Consider the Kerr-McGee Chemical (Columbus) Site for Proposal to Superfund’s National Priorities List

Release Date: 10/01/2010
Contact Information: Davina Marraccini, (404) 562-8293, marraccini.davina@epa.gov

(ATLANTA – Oct. 1, 2010) Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced that it is moving forward with the process to propose the Kerr-McGee Chemical (Columbus) site to the National Priorities List (NPL) list of hazardous waste sites.

This decision is based on the bankruptcy filing of Tronox, LLC. A formal decision to propose the site may be made as early as March 2011, the date when a number of other sites across the nation are expected to be proposed to the NPL as part of the federal rulemaking process. Consideration to propose the site to the NPL does not guarantee that the site will be proposed, or, that the site will be listed on the final NPL.

A community meeting will be held on Thursday, October 14, 2010 at the Lee Middle School Auditorium, 1815 Military Road, Columbus, MS, from 6:30 P.M. – 8:00 P.M. The purpose of this meeting is to present the Superfund Process to the community surrounding the site and does not pertain, in any way, to ongoing or future litigation/legal action related to former site activities.

The EPA Superfund Removal Program will continue efforts to identify the levels and extent of contamination in the community surrounding the site. The initial phase of this work will involve the collection of soil and sediment samples at properties near the drainage pathways associated with the site. Representatives from EPA will contact a select number of property owners to request property access for additional EPA sample collection. The sampling results will be evaluated by EPA to determine if further action, including additional sampling or cleanup, is necessary.

The results and findings will be shared directly with the property owners and tenants. Additional on-site investigation work may be conducted, as necessary, to determine the need for additional cleanup work on the former Kerr-McGee property. EPA is working with the Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality (MDEQ) to ensure that the existing ground water treatment network continues to operate.

The Kerr- McGee Chemical (Columbus) Site is comprised of approximately 90 acres, and is located at 2300 North 14th Avenue in Columbus, Mississippi. The facility was operational from approximately 1928 to 2003. While operational, Kerr-McGee manufactured pressure-treated railroad products such as wooden cross ties, switch ties, and timbers. The production processes at the site utilized creosote and creosote coal tar solutions to produce pressure-treated wood products. The facility also used pentachlorophenol (PCP) for wood-treating from the 1950s until the mid-1970s.