EPA ID# WAD000065508
EPA Region 10
Spokane County

5th Congressional District

Other Names: Kaiser Aluminum & Chemical Corp. - Mead Works
Last Update: April, 2010

Hide details for Site DescriptionSite Description

The 240-acre Kaiser Aluminum Mead Works site is an aluminum reduction facility located near Mead, Washington. From 1942 until 1978, pot linings were disposed of in the northwestern section of the plant property. The pots were soaked with water to loosen the linings for removal before disposal. In 1978, cyanide and fluoride were detected in several private drinking water wells northwest of the site. Cyanide and fluoride have contaminated an aquifer that supplies water to the Little Spokane River. The contamination is believed to have originated from past activities at the site. In 1978, Kaiser discontinued the practices of pot soaking and discharging effluent to wastewater treatment ponds but the spent potliner pile is still on site. From 1980 to 1990, Kaiser stored new pot linings on the site in a specially-built building. In 1990, Kaiser began shipping pot linings to an off-site hazardous waste landfill. The closest residences are located about one-half mile northwest of the plant. Approximately 5,500 people are served by the local water system.

Cyanide and fluoride were detected in soils and the upper portion of the groundwater aquifer underlying the site. On-site leachate contains fluoride and cyanide.

Site Responsibility: This site is being addressed through state, and potentially responsible parties' actions.

NPL Listing HistoryDates
Proposed Date:12/30/1982
Removed Date:
Withdrawal Date:
Final Date:09/08/1983
Deleted Date:

Hide details for Threats and ContaminantsThreats and Contaminants

Media Affected: Groundwater, Soil & Sludges
Cyanide and fluoride were detected in soils and the upper portion of the aquifer under the site. On-site leachate contains fluoride and cyanide. People may be exposed to contaminants through direct contact with or accidental ingestion of soil, groundwater, or leachate. Two biological studies in 1980 and 1995 indicate that the migration of the contaminant plume from the site does not affect aquatic life in the Little Spokane River.

Hide details for Cleanup ProgressCleanup Progress

Early Actions: Prior to being listed on the National Priorities List (NPL), the facility conducted a number of interim actions including construction of an alternative water supply to residents with contaminated wells, construction of an asphalt cap to keep precipitation from seeping through the source of contamination (potliner waste piles), and halting the on-site disposal of waste potliners.

Long-Term Actions: Kaiser, under a State Order, has conducted an investigation into the nature and extent of contamination at the site, completed a cleanup Feasibility Study, and completed an engineering design report. In March 2001, under a State Order, Kaiser started constructing a RCRA-style double-lined cap on top of the potliner piles. The cap was completed in the Fall of of 2001. In the winter of 2004, Kaiser Aluminum, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the State of Washington signed a Consent Decree in federal Bankruptcy Court which settled all Superfund liability. A Public Custodial Trust was established to own and take title to the site and manage cleanup activities. The Trust was funded by Kaiser Aluminum Corporation in the bankruptcy settlement. Current cleanup activities consist of maintenance of exisiting potliner pile-lined cover, replacement of water, sewer and stormwater lines near the potliner pile and groundwater monitoring. In 2010, groundwater will be evaluated and if cleanup standards are not met at the site boundary then further cleanup actions will occur. These cleanup actions will involve the pumping and treating of contaminated groundwater beneath the site. An environmental insurance policy will fund the groundwater treatment plant for a period of no more than 30 years.

Hide details for Regional ContactsRegional Contacts

SITE MANAGER(S):Paul Skyllingstad (state)
E-MAIL ADDRESS:psky461@ecy.wa.gov
PHONE NUMBER:360-407-6949

Tim Brincefield (EPA contact)
Information pertaining to this site is housed at the following location(s):
Washington Department of Ecology (Administrative Record)
Industrial Section
300 Desmond Drive
Lacey, WA 98503