Koppers Co., Inc. (Florence Plant)
EPA ID: SCD003353026
Location: Florence, Florence County, SC
Congressional District: 06
NPL Status: Proposed: 09/08/83; Final 09/21/84
Florence Public Library
319 S. Irby St.
Florence, SC 29501
Administrative Record Index: OU1 (PDF, 3 pp.,111K )
The Koppers Co., Inc. Florence Facility is located in Florence, South Carolina, approximately 1.5 miles east of the center of the City of Florence. The 145-Acre Koppers Company Inc., site is an active wood-treating and preserving plant that still generates hazardous wood preserving chemicals. The company currently uses three preservatives in its operations: creosote, pentachlorophenol (PCP), and chromated copper arsenate (CCA). State and Federal permits for wastewater discharges required the owner to upgrade operating practices once, starting in 1971. The State required the plant's liquid wastes to be sprayed over a field and allowed to evaporate. In addition, the company pumped ‘penta-oil' wastes into four unlined lagoons, where it was released through evaporation and seepage. In 1974, the operation violated the limits of its Federal discharge permit, and the EPA ordered the owner to study and control runoff. The study recommended closing the penta-oil lagoons, the creosote lagoon, and the spray field and replacing them with three concrete -lined solar oxidation ponds. Liquid from the final pond would be sprayed over land. The State approved the new system in 1977, and the EPA focused its concerns on stormwater discharge only. In 1979, the plant's drinking water supply became contaminated with napthalene, and by the next year, nearby residents reported a creosote odor and foul taste in their wells. The State ordered the company to study the groundwater problem. In response, the company supplied public water to homes that were affected, and installed recovery wells to retrieve and slow the movement of contaminants in the groundwater. The recovered groundwater and process wastewater now are sent to the pre-treatment facility on site and then discharge to the water treatment facility. Homes and apartments, hospitals, schools, and a day care center are all located within a 1-mile radius, as are mobile homes, agricultural lands, and airport, business and light industries. The residential areas are one/4 mile away from the site and contain gardens, livestock, and private wells. At least 1,200 people use the shallow aquifer for drinking water.
Cleanup Progress: Studies Underway
The site is currently being addressed under the authority of the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA). The EPA RCRA program has formally deferred all activities to the State of South Carolina. As a result of the deferral process, the State of South Carolina's RCRA program is directing the investigations. The site is being addressed in two stages: Immediate actions and a long-term remedial phase focusing on a cleanup of the entire site. Immediate Actions: the parties potentially responsible for site contamination studied the groundwater problem furnished an alternate water supply to affected residents, and installed recovery wells and a treatment system around the boundary of the site. Long-term Actions: under EPA monitoring, the owner of the site began a study of the site's pollution problems in 1988. However, the alternate water supply has eliminated the potential for exposure to hazardous materials from the Koppers Company, Inc. site through the groundwater. EPA plans to propose this site for deletion from the NPL during the month of December 2006 under its policy for deferred RCRA-lead sites.