Pacific Southwest, Region 9: Superfund
Serving Arizona, California, Hawaii, Nevada, the Pacific Islands, and Tribal Nations
Fairchild Semiconductor Corp. (South San Jose Plant)
EPA #: CAD097012298
County: Santa Clara
City: San Jose
Congressional District: 16
Other Names: Fairchild Camera and Instrument Corporation Schlumberger Technology Corporation
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Description and History
NPL Listing History
NPL Status: Final
Proposed Date: 10/15/84
Final Date: 10/04/89
The 22-acre Fairchild Semiconductor Corp. (South San Jose Plant) is located west of Highway 101 about nine miles southeast of downtown San Jose near the intersection of Monterey Highway and Highway 85. The Site is located in a light industrial and commercial area.
The Fairchild San Jose facility was constructed between 1975 and 1977. The facility was used for electronics and semiconductor fabrication facility from 1977 to 1983. Organic solvents (primarily 1,1,1-TCA) were used for cleaning and degreasing at the facility. Other chemicals were also used and stored at the facility. The Site was vacant from 1983 until it was redeveloped and reoccupied in 2000. Fairchild’s parent company, Schlumberger Technology Corporation (STC), sold Fairchild to National Semiconductor Corporation in 1987, and sold the Site property in 1990 to SRDC. STC has remained responsible for Site cleanup. This site was redeveloped to retail shopping (commercial) in 2000.
Initial investigations were conducted between November and December 1981, and determined that there was a single source, a 5,940 gallon organic solvent waste storage tank that released chemicals to soil and groundwater. The manufacturing operations at the Site involved using various industrial solvents that included 1,1,2-trichloro-1,2,2-trifluoroethane (Freon 113), 1,1,1-TCA, acetone, isopropyl alcohol, tetrachloroethylene (PCE), and xylenes. The main chemicals of concern (COCs) at the Site are 1,1,1-TCA and its breakdown product 1,1-DCE. Due to the tank failure, chemicals migrated down-gradient from the Site and into the A and B aquifers. Inactive agricultural wells in the area provided direct conduits for further migration of chemicals to the C aquifer.
Contamination in the drinking water aquifer was detected in 1981 when samples were collected from Great Oaks Water Company drinking water supply well GO-13, located down-gradient of the Fairchild facility and they contained detected chemicals due to the failed tank. Well GO-13 was taken out of service in December 1981 and sealed in October 1986.
Remedial action at the Site began in 1982 with the removal of the 5,940 gallon organic leaking solvent waste tank and associated piping. About 3,400 cubic yards of contaminated soil were excavated from the Site. Additional facilities that were removed included an acid waste tank, concrete holding vault, concrete slab beneath the former waste solvent tank, and a temporary waste solvent tank. Groundwater extraction was also initiated in 1982 to control contaminant migration.
In 1986, Fairchild constructed a slurry cut-off wall around the Site to create a physical barrier to prevent off-property migration and to facilitate remediation of VOC “hot spots” within the Site boundaries. GWET continued both inside and down-gradient from the slurry wall enclosure for several years as described above. Soil excavation and construction of the slurry wall were complete and the groundwater extraction and treatment (GWET) system and groundwater monitoring program fully implemented, at the time the Final SCR was adopted in 1989.
Groundwater remediation began at the Site in 1982. Fairchild identified and closed all supply wells in the area that were impacted by the pollution plume. With concurrence from the Regional Water Board, Fairchild suspended on-property groundwater extraction and treatment in July 1998 after demonstrating that asymptotic VOC concentrations and other conditions had been reached. During operation of the GWET system between 1982 and 1998, a total of 93,285 pounds of VOCs were removed from groundwater.
A soil vapor extraction and treatment (SVET) system was operated at the Site between 1987 and 1990 to treat vadose-zone soil contamination. The system was permanently shut down and removed in 1995 when Fairchild demonstrated that soil cleanup standards established in the SCR had been achieved. A total of 15,906 pounds of VOCs were removed by SVET.
In total, 146,191 pounds of VOCs were removed from the Site through soil excavation, groundwater extraction, and soil vapor extraction. No active remediation has been performed at the Site since 1998. Fairchild is currently conducting monitored natural attenuation at the Site.
Contaminants and Risks
- Soil and Sludges
Soil was contaminated with various volatile organic compounds (VOCs). Groundwater is contaminated with VOCs. The potential threat of direct contact with contaminated soil has been eliminated through initial actions. All private drinking water wells located in the area surrounding the site have been sealed or abandoned. The plume of contaminated groundwater has been reduced through ongoing treatment, and the potential health threat posed by ingesting groundwater contaminants continues to decrease.
Who is Involved
This site is being addressed through Federal, State, and potentially responsible parties' actions.
Initial Actions: Fairchild implemented several initial cleanup actions that have decreased the extent and magnitude of groundwater contamination in the area. In 1981, a leaking tank was removed. In 1982, 3,440 cubic yards of contaminated soils were removed. Since 1982, a series of on- and off-site groundwater extraction wells have been operating to control the migration of groundwater contaminants. In 1983, wells in several aquifers that provided potential pathways for contaminant migration to the C Aquifer were sealed. A slurry wall was built around the perimeter of the site in 1986 to help contain on-site contaminants within the A and B aquifers.
Entire Site: In early 1989, the potentially responsible party, under EPA oversight, completed an investigation of the nature and extent of contamination at the entire site. The following cleanup remedies were selected: treating contaminated on-site soil using a vapor extraction process; pumping on-site shallow groundwater and off-site groundwater and treating it using air stripping and carbon adsorption, followed by on-site reinjection of the treated groundwater; pumping deep groundwater from off-site wells, followed by air stripping and discharging to surface water using storm drains, or reuse of the groundwater for road construction and irrigation; conducting laboratory and field studies to determine the effectiveness of biodegradation on on-site chemicals; implementing deed restrictions to limit groundwater and land use; and monitoring groundwater. All construction of cleanup remedies was completed by early 1992. One of the two off-site aquifers (the C Aquifer) has reached the designated level.
In response to a Unilateral Order from the State, Fairchild is taking action to contain and reduce the contaminated groundwater plume.
Cleanup Results to Date
Construction of all cleanup remedies is complete. The removal and treatment of contaminated soil, the closure of private wells, the operation of the groundwater treatment system, and the installation of the slurry wall have reduced the potential for exposure to hazardous substances at the Fairchild Semiconductor Corp. (South San Jose Plant) site while groundwater treatment system continues until health-based levels are met.
The fourth Five Year Review was completed in September 2009 and concluded that:
The remedy at the Fairchild-San Jose Superfund Site at 101 Bernal Road in San Jose, California is currently protective of human health and the environment. The groundwater plume has been reduced and contained. In the meantime, institutional controls are in place to prevent exposure. There is no exposure risk from vapor intrusion. To be protective in the long term, however, the feasibility of alternative remedies or improvements to the existing system need to be evaluated to insure that the remedial objectives are achieved. The ROD will need to be amended to reflect the change in remedy and to identify 1,4-dioxane as a chemical of concern. Also, a new environmental restriction covenant consistent with current California law should be recorded to ensure long-term protectiveness.
Potentially Responsible Parties
Potentially responsible parties (PRPs) refers to companies that are potentially responsible for generating, transporting, or disposing of the hazardous waste found at the site.
Online information about the PRPs for the site is not yet available.
Documents and Reports
Public Information Repositories
The public information repositories for the site are at the following locations:
Regional Water Quality Control Board,
San Francisco Bay Region
2101 Webster Street, Suite 500
Oakland, CA 94612
EPA Site Manager
Mail Code SFD
75 Hawthorne Street
San Francisco, CA 94105
EPA Community Involvement Coordinator
Mail Code SFD
75 Hawthorne Street
San Francisco, CA 94105
EPA Public Information Center
1515 Clay Street
Oakland, CA 94612
After Hours (Emergency Response)