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Pacific Southwest, Region 9: Superfund

Serving Arizona, California, Hawaii, Nevada, the Pacific Islands, and Tribal Nations

Selma Treating Co.

EPA #: CAD029452141

State: California(CA)

County: Fresno

City: 1/2 mile from Selma

Congressional District: 20

Other Names: Selma Pressure Treating Company Saw Mill Properties

Bulletin Board


Description and History

NPL Listing History

NPL Status: Final

Proposed Date: 12/30/82

Final Date: 09/08/83

Deleted Date:

The 18-acre Selma Treating Company site (Site) includes a 3 to 4 acre wood treatment facility and 14 acres of an adjacent vineyard that were used for site drainage. The facilities on-site have been used by a series of owners to treat lumber products almost continuously since 1936. Historically, at least two methods of wood preservation have been used on-site. Before 1965, lumber was dipped into a mixture of pentachlorophenol (PCP) and oil, and then was dried on open racks, letting the excess liquid drip off. In 1965, the Site converted to a pressure-treating process, which consisted of two basic steps: conditioning the wood to reduce moisture content and to increase permeability, and impregnating the wood with chemical preservatives.

From 1936 to 1971, chemical wastes from the treatment plant were disposed of on-site in percolation ditches, dry wells, an unlined pond, and a sludge pit. Chemical preservatives also were released to the ground, particularly in the wood treatment area, as a result of spillage, dripping, and leaking. Waste fluids were discharged through pipelines that ran along the boundaries of the vineyard into off-site drainage areas and ditches.

In 1971, after the Regional Water Quality Control Board (RWQCB) determined that the discharges posed a serious threat, the Selma Treating Company was required to install an effluent recovery system.

In 1981, the Selma Treating Company filed for bankruptcy. In 1982, Sawmill Properties, Inc. acquired the facility with the stipulation that Selma Leasing Company continue to accept responsibility for Site cleanup.

The groundwater aquifers beneath the Site provide the only source of potable water in the area. The Town of Selma has a population of approximately 23,000 people.

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Contaminants and Risks

Contaminated Media
  • Groundwater
  • Soil and Sludges

Former wood treatment facility. Site groundwater is contaminated with chromium. Site soils are contaminated with PCP, volatile organic compounds (VOCs), and heavy metals, such as chromium, arsenic, and copper. If contaminants reach irrigation wells, crops may become contaminated. People who accidentally ingest or come into direct contact with contaminated groundwater or soils may be at risk; however, no contamination has been found in any public or private drinking water wells.

Soil cleanup has been completed.

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Who is Involved

This Site is being addressed through Federal and State actions. On October 1, 2009, the State of California Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC) became the lead regulatory agency for the Site .

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Investigation and Cleanup Activities

Site cleanup is being addressed in two stages: initial actions and a long-term remedial phase focusing on the cleanup of the entire Site.

Initial Actions

Initial Actions: In 1982, Sawmill Properties installed concrete drip drying pads and run-off containment
berms, and instituted operational controls to prevent further soil and groundwater contamination.

Remedy Selected

Soil Remedy: The selected soils remedy in the 1988 Record of Decision (ROD) included:

- Excavation of contaminated soil exceeding cleanup goals (13,000 cubic yards);
- Mixing soils with a fixative agent to solidify and stabilize contaminated soil;
- Placement of the soils into an impoundment cell on-site;
- Placement of a RCRA Cap on top of the fixed soils to provide additional protection from surface disturbance and water infiltration; and
- Abandonment of six dry wells.

Cleanup Complete

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE), under an Interagency Agreement (IAG) with EPA, performed this remediation work between 1991 and 1993. Contaminated soils were excavated from an on-site unlined pond, sludge pit, percolation ditches, and dry wells used to drain surface run-off from the treated wood storage areas of the Site. Additionally, off-site soil areas affected by Site contaminants were excavated and stabilized on-site.

Based on data collected for remedial design during the soil remedial action, EPA determined that additional soil remediation work was needed beyond that done under the 1988 ROD, and an explanation of significant differences (ESD) for more excavation and more stringent cleanup standards was completed in 1993. The ESD for the soil remedy included a more stringent cleanup standard for arsenic (25 ppm), a cleanup standard for pentachlorophenol in soils (17 ppm), additional areas of soil contamination requiring cleanup, and documentation of compliance with RCRA Land Disposal Restrictions.

Work under this ESD was performed in 1999 by USACE and included excavation of an additional 5,000 cubic yards of soil from areas within and just outside the plant property where drainage and spillage from treatment operations had deposited Site contaminants on public right of ways and adjacent properties. The excavated soil was stockpiled on-site and the excavation area was backfilled with clean soil.

In 1997, EPA entered into another IAG with the USACE Rapid Response Program, to install a perimeter fence to provide Site security and perform demolition of portions of the on-site wood treatment facility.

Final Soil Remedy Construction Activities in accordance with the September 2003 ROD Amendment:

The Final Soil Remedy Construction included the following tasks:

- Uncovering and removing overburden soils from the existing on-site RCRA soil
impoundment cell to prepare it to receive additional contaminated soil;
- Placing the previously stockpiled 5,000 cubic yards of soil into the soil
impoundment ;
- Excavating up to 5 feet of surface and subsurface soils (total
volume removed was approximately 25,000 cubic yards) and backfilling and grading the excavated areas with clean soil;
- Installing a RCRA geo-composite clay liner and soil/vegetative cap on the soil
impoundment ;
- Installing a 5.4 acre Asphalt RCRA Cap on the east end of the plant property to
cover the excavated area and contain the contaminated soils below five feet; and
- Operating and maintaining the RCRA Caps for a period of one year.

The excavation, backfill, and reinstallation of the RCRA Cap on the soil impoundment cell was completed in November 2003 and the Asphalt RCRA Cap was completed in May 2004. The final construction inspection by EPA and the State was conducted on June 10, 2004.
Land use restrictions placed on portions of the Site covered by the Asphalt Cap and RCRA Cap. A land use covenant dated June 2006 between Selma Pressure Treating, the current owner, and DTSC is in place.

Cleanup Ongoing

Groundwater Remedy: The selected groundwater remedy in the 1988 ROD included:

In the 1988 ROD, the selected remedy for chromium in groundwater consisted of constructing and operating a groundwater extraction and treatment system to convert hexavalent chromium to trivalent chromium, the disposal of treated and tested groundwater by re-injection into the aquifer, and the disposal of sludge generated by the treatment process.

In 1997 an ESD was completed for the use of percolation ponds in lieu of re-injection. The groundwater extraction and treatment system including eight extraction wells was installed from May-August 1998, and the post construction inspections and operational tests were conducted in September 1998. The treatment system began full operation at 200 gallons per minute (gpm) in late September 1998. The RA report, documenting completed construction activities for the groundwater remedial action, was completed in September 2000. Additional, ongoing groundwater system optimization is occurring at the Site as part of the Long Term Remedial Action (LTRA) activities.

Bench-scale tests concluded in early 2005 yielded results that supported the use of molasses, a food-grade substrate, to increase the metabolism of naturally occurring microorganisms to produce a biologically enhanced, chemically reducing environment. Use of microorganisms in-situ, or in-situ bioremediation (ISB), is a cost-effective remedial technology at the Site and will result in a large cost savings over time. An ESD in 2005 adopted full-scale use of ISB to optimize groundwater remediation at the Site.

In 2005, an ISB Pilot Test (Phase 1) was conducted within the relatively shallow chromium contamination source area at the Site. The Pilot Test used direct injection methods and ISB groundwater treatment was expanded to other portions of the chromium-contaminated plume.
After further delineation efforts, Phase 1A ISB was expanded in 2005-2006 to encompass areas immediately surrounding the Phase 1 Pilot Study area. Phase 2 ISB was also divided into two sub-phases with Phase 2A being delineated, designed and implemented in early-2006. The depth of the chromium plume within the Phase 2A area was the limit of the capability of using the direct push, direct injection methodology at this Site.

Phase 2B ISB, which began operations mid-2006, was utilizing a recirculation methodology to introduce the ISB substrate into the chromium plume. ISB recirculation methods are longer term by nature and are more effective on deeper plume areas. An additional substrate, sodium lactate, which was also bench-tested in 2005 concurrently with molasses, was used successfully during Phase 2B. Lactate lasts longer and was added to the process to enhance reduction of residual (hexavalent) chromium entrenched within zones of lower hydraulic conductivity. Phase 3 began operation in October 2007 to treat the hexavalent chromium plume under Highway 99 and is ongoing.

The use of ISB technology in the source and downgradient plume areas has been successful in reducing chromium concentrations on-site. The earlier extraction wells which were installed connected to the conventional groundwater treatment plant in 1998 have been disconnected and re-routed and connected to the ISB treatment system.

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Cleanup Results to Date

Soil cleanup is completed. DTSC has 100% responsibility for on-going operations and maintenance. Groundwater treatment is being optimized. Use of molasses injection to enhance in-situ remediation of hexavalent chromium contamination in groundwater is in its final stages and has been successful in speeding up the time needed to restore the groundwater.
The Third Five Year Review Report was completed on September 28, 2011. To review this document, either click on the DTSC link - http://www.envirostor.dtsc.ca.gov/public/profile_report.asp?global_id=10240051# - or scroll down to "Technical Documents" below.

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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.

On-line information about the PRPs for the Site is not yet available.

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Community Involvement

Public Meetings:

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Public Information Repositories

The public information repositories for the site are at the following locations:

Fresno County Library,
Selma Branch,
2200 Selma Street,
Selma, CA 93662
(559) 896-3393

The most complete collection of documents is the official EPA site file, maintained at the following location:

Superfund Records Center

Mail Stop SFD-7C

95 Hawthorne Street, Room 403

San Francisco, CA 94105

(415) 820-4700

Enter main lobby of 75 Hawthorne street, go to 4th floor of South Wing Annex.

Additional Links

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EPA Site Manager
Grace Ma
US EPA Region 9
Mail Code SFD
75 Hawthorne Street
San Francisco, CA 94105
EPA Community Involvement Coordinator
Alejandro Diaz
US EPA Region 9
Mail Code SFD
75 Hawthorne Street
San Francisco, CA 94105
EPA Public Information Center
State Contact
Tim Patenaude
8800 Cal Center Drive
Sacramento, CA 95826-3200
PRP Contact
Community Contact
Other Contacts
After Hours (Emergency Response)
(800) 424-8802

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