Originally created 07/20/02

Federal meeting will discuss study of contamination



WILLISTON, S.C. - Federal regulators will brief residents Tuesday about plans to study - and possibly clean up - decades of toxic contamination near an aging factory.

The 7 p.m. meeting at the Old Williston High School auditorium will focus on the Admiral Home Appliances site off Dixie-Narco Boulevard, where soil and water are contaminated with toxic metals and chemicals.

According to a U.S. Environmental Protection Agency fact sheet, the area of concern surrounds a former wastewater treatment plant built in the 1950s to process domestic sewage from a small trailer park.

However, operators of the factory - including Chill Chest, Rheem, Magic Chef and Admiral - used the plant over the years to treat industrial wastes that contained solvents and cancer-causing chemicals.

The plant's sewage was diverted to the Williston treatment plant in 1982, but preliminary surveys in 1989 and into the 1990s found soil and groundwater contamination in and around the former wastewater areas.

Tuesday's meeting will include a presentation of findings so far - including elevated levels of iron, arsenic, lead, zinc, benzene and other constituents in water and soil.

Future plans include installation of dozens of new groundwater monitoring wells and tests of 29 private wells, Soil and sediment samples will be taken from surrounding sites as well.

EPA officials estimate the site investigation could take two to three years to complete, after which decisions will be made on how - or if - a cleanup could be undertaken.

EPA's Region IV office in Atlanta has opened a document repository at the Williston Branch library, 205 Springfield Road; and assigned a public affairs specialist, Linda Starks, (404) 562-8487 or (800) 564-7577, to the project.

Reach Robert Pavey at (706) 868-1222, Ext. 119 or rpavey@augustachronicle.com.

POSSIBLE CLEANUP

An overview of plans for the Admiral Home Appliances Site:

  • Improperly treated industrial sewage leaked into nearby soil and water.
  • Preliminary tests indicate the area contains metals and solvents.
  • A 7 p.m. meeting Tuesday will outline plans to study the area.
  • Test wells and sediment samples will define the extent of danger.
  • Federal Superfund money could be sought for any cleanup needed.


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