EPA Region 10 Linn County Millersburg
5th Congressional District Other Names: Teledyne Wah Chang - Albany, Oremet-Wah Chang
Last Update: May, 2010
Site Description Threats and Contaminants
Media Affected:Groundwater, Soil & Sludges
On-site sludge was contaminated with thorium, uranium, radium, and volatile organic compounds (VOCs). Creek sediments are contaminated with polychlorinated biphenyls (PCB)s. Soil is contaminated with radionuclides, heavy metals, PCBs, and volatile organic compounds. Shallow groundwater is contaminated with VOCs, radium, and heavy metals. Past potential health threats included direct contact with and accidental ingestion of contaminated sludges, soil, or groundwater. The discharge of contaminated groundwater into nearby creeks could pose ecological risks. Radium contaminated soil may produce radon gas emissions, which pose an inhalation risk.
Early Actions: The Solids Area was addressed as an early cleanup action before the remedial investigation was completed. In 1990, EPA chose a remedy for cleaning up the sludges. The remedy included removing about 110,000 cubic yards of sludges from the Lower River Solids Pond and Schmidt Lake, solidifying the sludges, and removing the mixture to a permitted off-site disposal facility. Oremet-Wah Chang began cleanup under an EPA Administrative Order in 1991, and finished in 1993. Five-year reviews, completed in January 1998 and January 2003, confirmed the remedy continues to protect human health and the environment.
Long-Term Actions: Groundwater/Sediments/Soils: In 1995, Oremet-Wah Chang completed the remedial investigation under an Administrative Order. EPA had selected a remedy for groundwater and sediments in 1994. The remedy called for pumping and treating contaminated groundwater, and excavating and disposing of PCB-contaminated creek sediments. The remedy for soils, selected in 1995, included excavating radium-contaminated soils, and institutional controls to reduce risk from radon. Wah Chang began to design the remedy for groundwater, sediment, and soil in 1997, under an EPA Consent Decree. In 1998, sediments cleanup was completed. Excavation of radium-contaminated soil was completed in 1999. OWC began constructing the groundwater treatment system in 2000.
In 2005, Wah Chang submitted a three-year evaluation of the groundwater treatment system to EPA. The evaluation showed areas where solvent groundwater concentrations have met EPA cleanup standards, but also indicated areas where solvent groundwater concentrations were not at levels acceptable to EPA. Wah Chang is working with EPA to enhance and improve the groundwater treatment system so that groundwater concentrations continue to decline. In addition, Wah Chang will continue to submit reports to EPA documenting contaminant concentrations in soil from studies of areas previously uninvestigated under Superfund. This will demonstrate that any newly discovered soil contamination will not have any negative effect on the groundwater remedy. In 2008, under EPA's direction,Wah Chang installed a new extraction well in the fabrication area of their main facility. Wah Chang found an old source of 1,1,1-trichloroethane (TCA) that released high concentrations into the groundwater. These concentrations cannot be cleaned up by the existing groundwater extraction and treatment system. Wah Chang conducted a further investigation to determine the nature and extent of the source, and to evaluate remedial alternatives. In 2009, EPA made a decision to add enhanced In-situ bioremediation to address the high concentrations of TCA and other VOCs in the acid sump area of the fabrication area. An Explanation of Significant Differences documents this change to the cleanup remedy. Additional application of EISB in the fabrication area will occur in 2010.