25 TRANSFORMER PCB SUPERFUND SITES
1981 - 2012
1. Ward Transformer - Raleigh, NC
Protecting Our Water: PCB Contamination at Ward
Catch and Release Public Service Announcement
Lake Crabtree / Ward Transformer News UPDATE 8/24/05
Toxic Cleanup Shifts from Dirt Near RDU to Region's Streams, Lakes Source: newobserver.com 7/19/14
Background - The Ward Transformer Superfund site is located in Raleigh, NC. The site cleanup cost is up to $50 million, and could go up to $500 million if the USEPA requires more downstream PCB removal in the future to protect the public.
Ward Transformer reportedly received only oil filled transformers with less than 50 ppm PCBs after 1979.The starting PCB contamination range (prior to cleanup for the outlying area, not including the site itself) is between 2 to 5 parts per million PCBs and the risk-based fish goal is 0.050 parts per million PCB.
Potentially responsible parties (PRPs) are liable to finance and implement the removal of contaminated soil and sediment at the Ward Transformer Superfund site.
2. Dugger Electric - Dugger, IN
Background - "The Dugger Electric Company began business in 1920. The company repaired electric equipment including transformers. Some of the cooling oil in the transformers contained PCBs. PCBs have been found in the soils in the transformer storage area, in the sediments in a ditch that drains the storage area, and in the extensive old underground mining works underlying the Town of Dugger. IDEM has sampled many of the dumping holes that extend into the old works. Groundwater monitoring wells have also been drilled. At this time, IDEM does not believe that the full extent of the PCB contamination is known. Plans are being developed to more accurately determine the extent and amount of PCBs that are present beneath Dugger."
3. PCB Treatment, Inc.- Kansas City, MO
Background-"PCB Treatment Inc. (PTI) began operations at 2100 Wyandotte Street, Kansas City, Missouri in 1982. A portion of the operation moved to 45 South Ewing Street, Kansas City, Kansas in 1984. Initial operations included decommissioning and storage of PCB-containing items. PCB oils and PCB-contaminated components were shipped offsite for incineration. Reusable metal was salvaged. PTI also performed a de-chlorination process for PCB-contaminated oils.
PTI operated on all floors of the five-story building at 45 Ewing Street from 1984 until 1987, authorized by EPA under the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA). Decommissioning and PCB removal activities were terminated in 1987, after TSCA authorizations were not renewed by EPA. Between 1987 and 1991, the owner of the building attempted different methods to decontaminate the building. None of these attempts were successful at reducing PCB concentrations to required levels.
Site investigations have concluded that portions of floors and walls remain PCB-impacted in excess of acceptable levels. Soils adjacent to the facility were also found to contain PCBs."
4. Missouri Electric Works -Cape Girardeau, MO
Background "-Missouri Electric Works has sold and serviced electric motors and transformers on a 6.4-acre site near the southeastern edge of the City of Cape Girardeau, Cape Girardeau County, Missouri, since 1953. It is in a light industrial/commercial area on Missouri Highway 61 within 1 mile of prime agricultural land.
An inspection by the Missouri Department of Natural Resources (MDNR) during October 1984 found that drums of transformer waste oils contaminated with PCBs were leaking. In November 1985, EPA analyses indicated that a PCB (Aroclor 1260) was present in soils at concentrations as high as 58,000 parts per million. Soil contamination is widespread and occurs to a depth of at least 5 feet.
Soils in the area are relatively permeable, the bedrock is highly fractured, and ground water is shallow (20 feet in some cases). These conditions facilitate movement of contaminants into ground water. An estimated 34,000 people obtain drinking water from a Cape Girardeau well within 3 miles of the site.
The site is approximately 1.75 miles west of the Mississippi River. It is located on a leveled hilltop, with the majority of the site sloping slightly to the south into a run-off channel eventually draining to Cape La Croix Creek. The far southeast corner drops off rapidly into a drainage ditch also leading to the creek, which is used for recreational activities.
Wipe samples EPA collected in January 1987 indicated that Aroclor 1260 was in the air on and off the site in places where contaminants could only have been deposited by windblown particulates from Missouri Electric Works. An estimated 37,800 people live within 4 miles of the site."
5. Mid-Mo Electric - Sedalia, MO
6. Bickford Transformer - New Lisbon, WI
Background- Approximately 400 entities that sent PCB-contaminated equipment to the Bickford Transformer Processing Facility in New Lisbon, Wisconsin footed the cleanup bill when the site was condemned a PCB contaminated site by Wisconsin's Department of Natural Resources. This site reportedly received only oil filled transformers with less than 50 ppm PCBs. The starting PCB contamination range (prior to cleanup for the site) is between 1.01 to less than 50 parts per million PCBs.
7. Martha C. Rose Chemical - Holden, MO
Background- " In 1982 it began processing and disposing of materials contaminated with PCBs. Lawmakers were told that an estimated 15 million to 20 million pounds of PCBs remained stored at the plant, and a cleanup could cost at least $20 million and take perhaps two years to complete." -Associated Press Article, 8/14/1986
8. Le High Engineering - Old Forge Borough, PA
Background- "Conditions at proposal (October 23, 1981): The Lehigh Electric & Engineering Co. Site, in Old Forge Borough, Lackawanna County, Pennsylvania, occupies approximately 5.4 acres adjacent to the Lackawanna River. The company operated a storage and repair facility for electrical equipment from the mid-1970s until March 1981. On-site are 4,000 pieces of equipment, some contaminated with PCBs. Analyses indicate that extremely high levels accumulated in the soil due to the indiscriminate disposal of dielectric fluids containing PCBs. Contamination of ground water and surface water is possible because the soil is highly permeable and the site is in the floodplain.
In n April 1981, with funds made available under Section 104 of the Clean Water Act, EPA fenced the site and analyzed soil and water samples. In September 1981, using funds made available under the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act, EPA started a remedial investigation/feasibility study (RI/FS) to determine the type and extent of contamination at the site and identify alternatives for remedial action."
9. Allen Transformer - Ft. Smith, Arkansas
Background- " Conditions at proposal (October 23, 1981):Allen Transformer covers approximately 3.5 acres south of Fort Smith, Sebastian County, Arkansas, near the municipal airport. In 1968, the company began to repair and store electrical transformers containing PCBs. Waste oils containing PCBs have been spilled on the ground, contaminating soils, and run-off has contaminated surface water. EPA investigated the site in 1979."
10. San Angelo Electric Service Company (SESCO) - San Angelo, TX
Background- " The San Angelo Electric Service Company (SESCO) site (the site) is located on six acres in a residential area of northeastern San Angelo at 926 Pulliam Street. The company had been at the site since 1932 when it was founded as a motor magneto and starter repair company. Around 1946, the company transitioned its operations to building, repairing, and servicing electrical transformers. Spilled PCB (polychlorinated biphenyl's) insulating oil from the transformer work was found in the soil and the underlying water. The PCB contamination had apparently entered the water by way of several unprotected wells on the property near the transformer work areas. Currently the site is bordered by residential property on the west and north. Light commercial/small businesses make up the east and northeast borders. On the south side, Pulliam Street separates the site from the San Jacinto Elementary School property. In 2003, San Angelo Electric Service Company (SESCO) did not respond to requests to remove contaminated soil from nearby residences. The state removed the contaminated soil from the nearby residences and the school soccer field, and installed several monitor wells."
11. Norwood PCBS - Norwood, MA
Background - " Conditions at proposal (October 15, 1984): The Norwood PCBs Site is a privately owned industrial site covering approximately 24 acres in a commercial/residential area of Norwood, Norfolk County, Massachusetts. The property was developed for industrial use in the 1940s and was occupied by several manufacturers of electrical components, including transformers that used PCBs as a dielectric fluid and coolant. In June 1983, EPA and the State identified PCBs in surface soils at the site and secured the area with guards. Also in June, EPA used $200,000 in CERCLA emergency funds to excavate approximately 518 cubic yards of contaminated soil and transport it to a regulated disposal facility."
12. Northwest Transformer - Everson, Washington
Background - "Conditions at proposal (October 15, 1984): Northwest Transformer's salvage yard covers 1.2 acres about 2 miles south of Everson, Washington, a rural community in Whatcom County. The site was used for storage and salvage of transformers, which involved dismantling and draining, as well as incineration operations. Waste transformer fluids were stored in a tank on-site. PCBs, a component of some transformer fluids, were detected in private domestic wells near the site in tests conducted by the Whatcom County Health Department. Although the levels of PCBs were near detection limits (0.05 to 0.11 part per billion), no other source of PCBs has been identified near the wells. Subsequent sampling showed no PCBs. Further sampling is planned. Wells within 3 miles of the site are the source of drinking water for 2,700 people."
13. Northwest Transformer (South Harkness Street) - Everson, Washington
Background - "Conditions at proposal (June 24, 1988): Northwest Transformer started to refurbish and manufacture transformers in 1958 on South Harkness Street, a mixed-use area of downtown Everson, Whatcom County, Washington. The company transferred its storage and salvage operations from its Mission and Pole Road salvage yard south of Everson to the downtown site after the salvage yard underwent an EPA emergency removal in 1985 and was placed on the NPL in 1986. By 1987, the company had ceased operations at South Harkness Street.
At the South Harkness Street Site, which covers less than 1 acre, Northwest Transformer stores transformers, drums, and bulk tanks outdoors in an unpaved yard. A Washington Department of Ecology inspection in December 1985 detected high levels of PCBs in on-site soils. Soils are permeable, and the ground water is shallow (11.5 feet) in some places at the site. These conditions facilitate movement of contaminants into ground water. Wells within 3 miles of the site are used by over 10,000 people for drinking and for irrigation. Surface water from the area is used for irrigation."
14. Peck Iron and Metal - Portsmouth, VA
Background - "From 1945 to 1999, Peck Iron purchased, processed, stored, and shipped metal scrap from various military bases; other Federal, state, and local government agencies; and local businesses. Scrap metal handled at the facility included damaged and obsolete equipment, attachments, parts, and other miscellaneous materials, including scrapped naval vessels. Some of these scrap materials contained cadmium (automobile parts), polychlorinated biphenyls (PCB) (insulated wire, gaskets, fluorescent lights and transformer oils) and lead (scrapped bridge sections and automobile batteries). PCB-containing transformers were disassembled at the facility and the wires were burned to remove insulation.”
15. Pinette's Salvage Yard - Washburn, ME
Background - " Pinette's Salvage Yard is located 1 mile southwest of the town of Washburn, Maine. In July 1979, three transformers filled with PCBs were removed from Loring Air Force Base to Pinette's, which is privately owned. During unloading, the transformers broke, spilling their contents onto an area measuring 40 feet by 40 feet. The oil migrated through the soil and may have contaminated ground water and surface water. The main concern is the potential for direct contact with highly contaminated soil."
16. Cornell Dubilier Electronics, Inc. - South Plainfield, New Jersey
Background - " The Cornell Dubilier Electronics Inc (CDE) site consists of a 25-acre property on Hamilton Boulevard in South Plainfield, Middlesex County, New Jersey. CDE tested transformer oils on the property for an unknown period of time until the company vacated the property in 1961. The property is currently occupied by the Hamilton Industrial Park, which consists of approximately 15 small industries. It has been alleged that during CDE's period of operation, the company dumped transformer oil contaminated with polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) directly onto site soils. A former employee has claimed that the rear of the property was saturated with PCB-contaminated transformer oils and that transformers were also buried behind the facility during the same time period. New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (NJDEP) personnel visited the site on March 12, 1985 and noted in the back of the facility contained a black soil unnatural to the area. In 1988, a response letter was delivered to the NJDEP by a law firm representing CDE, which indicated that small accidental leaks or spills of PCBs occurred at the site property and that liquid-liquid-vapor degreasers were utilized during processes conducted at the site. Trichloroethylene (TCE) was the degreasing agent admitted to be used. The letter also indicated that residual wastes from the on-site processes may have been landfilled on the site property. NJDEP personnel noted that four large black tanks were present on the edge of a large filled-in area situated in the rear of the site. The tanks were at the top of an embankment leading down to the unnamed tributary to Bound Brook. Five large tanks were observed in this area by EPA on March 30, 1994 and again on June 8, 1994. The tanks were removed from the site prior to the HRS sampling event."
17. F. O'Connor Co. - Augusta, ME
Background - "Conditions at listing (December 1982): The F. O'Connor Co., a dealer in scrap iron and metals, occupies about 5 acres in Augusta, Maine. One of the major operations at the site was the salvaging of used transformers containing PCBs. The State first inspected the site in 1973, when uncontained oil from the transformer operation overflowed a holding pond and drained into Riggs Brook. "
18. Old Esco Manufacturing - Greenville, TX
Background -" The Old ESCO facility operated from 1945 until March 1991. ESCO manufactured electrical transformers for distribution as well as repaired and refurbished used transformers for resale. The manufacturing process included the use of polychlorinated biphenyl (PCB) oil, which has contaminated soil on the facility property and surrounding properties. The facility is currently abandoned. The facility is bordered by several residential properties located immediately to the north and east."
19. Metal Banks - Philadelphia, PA
Background - " The Metal Banks Site covers 6 acres in an urban/industrial neighborhood next to the Delaware River in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. After processing transformers and oil contaminated with PCBs there for a number of years, Metal Banks closed the operation in 1972. In 1977, EPA determined that periodic oil slicks found in the Delaware River adjacent to the site were contaminated with PCBs. The site was subsequently identified as the source of the slicks. A U.S. Coast Guard study revealed that up to 20,000 gallons of PCB-contaminated oil were in the ground water under the site and were leaking into the Delaware River."
20. Hevi-Duty Electric Company - Goldsboro, NC
Background -"Conditions at proposal (May 5, 1989): Hevi-Duty Electric Co. operates on about 125 acres just off U.S. 117 in an industrial-residential area about 2 miles south of Goldsboro, Wayne County, North Carolina. Since early 1968, Hevi-Duty, which is owned by General Signal Corp., has manufactured dry and liquid power transformers on the southern part the property; the northern two-thirds is leased to local farmers.
Oil containing PCBs was used in the transformers until the mid-1970s. In 1979 or 1980, about 1,000 gallons of PCB-containing transformer oil was spilled from an underground storage tank. The company removed the soil from this spill and buried it in an unlined pit on the north end of the property. In about 1976, PCB-contaminated soil from an underground storage tank area was removed and buried in a plastic-lined pit under supervision of the North Carolina Department of Natural Resources and Community Development (NRCD). In August 1985, EPA and Hevi-Duty signed a Consent Agreement under which the company paid a civil penalty of $7,800.
On January 30, 1986, a cracked pipeline on a tanker truck resulted in a spill of approximately 1,400 gallons of transformer oil. According to Hevi-Duty, this oil, which contained approximately 4 parts per million PCBs, ran into culverts and an open drainage ditch. The majority of the oil was recovered by skimming from the water, then filtered and reused. The saturated soil and material used to soak up some of the spill were disposed of in #1 Wayne County Landfill. Hevi-Duty also stated that the spill was contained on its property and did not reach any open water. On March 18, 1986, Hevi-Duty reported to NRCD that a crack in an underground oil line resulted in the loss of approximately 1,500 gallons of transformer oil. During a State inspection on May 28, 1986, Hevi-Duty was cleaning up the spill by pumping water underground, thus flushing the oil out of the ground. A sample of the oil being forced out was collected from a mud puddle. Analysis by the State indicated that it contained 227 parts per million PCB (Aroclor 1254). On-site ground water also contained Aroclor 1254. An estimated 4,600 people obtain drinking water from public wells within 3 miles of the site, the nearest 1,900 feet from the site."
21. Carolina Transformer - Fayetteville, NC
Background - The Carolina Transformer Company (CTC) was an electrical transformer rebuilding and repair operation from 1967-1982. This transformer repair and rebuilding facility was a PCB storage and disposal site for owners of PCB transformers and/or accessories to these transformers. Handling of PCB oil as part of the facility operations was not appropriate and, as result, the area became contaminated. The nearest residence is located approximately 250 feet from the site and an estimated 3,000 people reside within a 3-mile radius of the Site.
22. Standard Steel & Metal Salvage Yard - Anchorage, AK
Background - " Metal recycling and salvage businesses operated on the site beginning in 1955 and until 1993. Site activities included reclamation of copper from electrical transformers containing polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), salvaging of assorted batteries, and processing of various types of equipment and drums from nearby military bases. Releases of hazardous substances occurred from these activities and the inappropriate handling of transformer oils. In 1982, the land was leased to Standard Steel & Metals. The site contained transformers, bulk tanks, an incinerator, a metal crusher, drums and other containers, and additional items associated with salvage operations.
23. Pepper Steel & Alloys, Inc. - Medley, FL
Background - " Conditions at listing (September 1983): Pepper Steel & Alloys, Inc., has processed scrap metals since the early 1970s on a 10-acre site in Medley, Dade County, Florida. A portion of its business has been the recycling of transformers and other electrical equipment. The company reportedly disposed of transformer oil containing PCBs on the site and on two adjacent sites.
In 1975, a county inspector sampled an area of oil-soaked ground at Pepper Steel. Results showed high levels of oil and grease. In December 1982, the county observed an oily layer up to 6 inches deep in six pits, each 2 to 4 feet deep, on the site. Analyses of the oil revealed high concentrations of PCBs.
Early in 1983, EPA conducted a geophysical survey of the site and identified about a dozen zones requiring further investigation. Soil sampling determined that PCBs were present in at least two zones. Using approximately $250,000 in CERCLA emergency funds, EPA removed soil in "Zone A" and oil floating on the shallow aquifer underlying the site. EPA also drilled observation wells and sampled on-site wells and surface water in the immediate area. Florida Power and Light Co., which allegedly sent electrical equipment to Pepper Steel for recycling, has agreed to perform further sampling and analysis outside of "Zone A" and to recommend remedial alternatives."
24. National Electric Coil/Cooper Industries - Dayhoit, KY
Background - " The 3.5-acre National Electric Coil/Cooper Industries site is located adjacent to the Cumberland River in the town of Dayhoit, Harlan County, Kentucky. From 1951 to 1987 the National Electric Coil Company (NEC), operated under the ownership of the McGraw Edison Company. The business involved rewinding electric motors, manufacturing coils, and rebuilding machinery used in the coal mining industry. Cooper Industries purchased McGraw Edison in 1985 and continued operations until August 1987 when the facility was sold to Treen Land Company. Currently, Treen Land Company is using the site for operation of the National Electric Service Company (NES), which is an active facility for rewinding and rebuilding electric motors and hydraulic systems used for the mining of coal.
Past practices at the facility involved the use of a trichloroethylene (TCE)-based solvent to remove oil and tar from the used motors, capacitors, transformers, and other equipment prior to their being rebuilt. Activities performed to clean the equipment and the equipment-dipping tank resulted in on-site and off-site contamination. Under former operating practices liquid solvent, waste sludges and polychlorinated biphenyl (PCB)-laden transformer oils were allowed to flow overland and/or through a drainage pipe to the Cumberland River.
25. Sol Lynn Superfund Site - Houston, TX
Background - " The site is the location of a former electrical transformer salvage and recycling company, which operated between 1965 and 1975. A chemical recycling and supply company subsequently operated at the same location from 1979 through 1980. In 1971, an investigation concluded that oil was poured out of electrical transformers as they were being dismantled. Oil and grease were on the soil and floating on ponded water as well as in ditches on the site. In 1980, an inspection discovered old drums stored at the site. An oily discharge was found from a drum storage area behind the warehouses. In 1981, an inspection identified approximately 75 drums scattered on the site. Most of the drums were labeled "trichloroethene" and were empty and punctured.