Sunday, December 20, 2009
EPA: Hazardous waste site
By Michael V. Hannigan
Monitor Staff Writer
MALAKOFF–A representative with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) told Malakoff City Council members the cleanup of the hazardous waste site on West Mitchum Street should be complete by early next week.
The report came during the council’s regular monthly meeting Tuesday night.
EPA On-Scene Coordinator Mike McAteer told the council, “We’re just about ready to finish up. We’ll probably have all the contaminated soil out by Saturday and by next Tuesday be all done.”
McAteer also praised the city staff, including Director of Public Works Tim Whitley, for their cooperation in cleaning up the site.
The site, at 312 West Mitchum St., is the former location of Triple B Bumper Manufacturing, a metal plating business. A preliminary report by the EPA in 2008 showed the building contained as many as 60 55-gallon drums many containing unknown chemicals, and open vats containing chemicals. According to the federal report, labels on the drums indicate they originally contained chemicals used in the metal plating process, including “nitric acid, sulfuric acid, hydrochloric acid, nickel chloride, chromium plating reagent and calcium hypochloride.”
Tuesday, McAteer told the council that approximately 38,000 gallons of hazardous liquids and approximately 48,000 pounds of solid hazardous materials and debris were taken away from the site. In addition, 28 truckloads of non-hazardous waste material were also taken out.
“The vats in there were in bad shape and everything went right through the bottom and into the soil,” he said.
McAteer said that more than 550 samples were taken from the soil and the concrete floor of the building, and “quite a few came up hot.”
McAteer said that what was mainly found were chromium and nickel, both known carcinogens.
The site first came to the attention of general public in April after Malakoff Fire Marshal Garris Strange declared the building to be “immediately dangerous to life and health.”
Strange’s action spurred the EPA to come look at the site, but not for the first time.
According to reports obtained by The Malakoff News, the EPA and the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) conducted an inspection of the building on March 18, 2008. The reports state, “The exterior of the facility building showed signs of heavy deterioration with open drainage pathways allowing for offsite migration of contaminants. Stained soils were visible around the perimeter of the building. During the course of the investigation, EPA observed vehicle and pedestrian traffic including small children in the shopping center and roads adjacent to the facility.”
The reports go on to say, “The interior of the building shows further signs of deterioration and poor housekeeping. The building houses 15 open top vats utilized in the metal plating process. These vats contain various liquid and/or solid materials of unknown composition and are all showing extensive signs of corrosion.”
The report was filed by EPA On-Scene Coordinator Eric Delgado. In April, Delgado said the conditions at the site did not reach the level of “an emergency response.”
A possible cleanup was also delayed by confusion over ownership of the building; a problem that was later cleared up.
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