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News Releases from Region 04

EPA Announces $5.5 Million Settlement for Cleanup of Ward Transformer Superfund Site in Raleigh, N.C.

Contact Information: 
Davina Marraccini (marraccini.davina@epa.gov)

ATLANTA – Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced a settlement with 173 parties to clean areas surrounding the Ward Transformer Superfund Site (Site) in Raleigh, N.C. The consent decree requires the settling parties to fund and perform an estimated $5.5 million cleanup of polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) from lower Brier Creek, Lake Crabtree, lower Crabtree Creek and nearby tributaries.

“This legal agreement ensures that the remaining PCB contamination surrounding the Ward Transformer Site in Raleigh will be cleaned up by potentially responsible parties,” said Anne Heard, EPA's Acting Regional Administrator for the Southeast. "EPA welcomes the path forward toward restoring the water bodies surrounding the Site so that future generations may enjoy them."

The   houses a former transformer manufacturing, repair, sales and reconditioning facility constructed in 1964 on 11 acres of previously undeveloped land near the Raleigh-Durham International Airport in a predominantly industrial area of Raleigh in Wake County, N.C. The Site also encompasses the neighboring property, the Estes Trucking Facility, and areas downstream from the facility, including Little Brier Creek, Brier Creek Reservoir, Brier Creek, Lake Crabtree, lower Crabtree Creek and several unnamed tributaries. Waste material from the Ward Transformer Site was historically transported to the Warren Country Landfill, a related Superfund site that gained notoriety at the start of the environmental justice movement.

The Ward facility received electrical transformers containing PCBs used as an insulating and cooling medium. During the repair or reconditioning of transformers, PCB-contaminated fluids were frequently spilled, causing widespread soil and sediment contamination. PCBs are a known human carcinogen and may cause a variety of other adverse health effects on the immune, reproductive, nervous and endocrine systems.

The proposed settlement announced today addresses contamination in the stream between the former Ward facility and lower Crabtree Creek, as well as Brier Creek Reservoir and Lake Crabtree. The settling parties will be responsible for implementing the cleanup selected in the Record of Decision from September 2008. The cleanup includes excavating PCB-contaminated soil and sediment, and monitoring of sediment and aquatic biota to ensure cleanup goals are being met. The parties will also implement administrative and/or legal controls that help minimize the potential for human exposure to contamination. The settling parties will receive $405,000 towards the cleanup from the Ward Transformer Disbursement Special Account, which is funded through previous settlements. Under the settlement, one settling party, Carr & Duff, Inc. will also pay $40,000 in civil penalties for its failure to comply with a 2011 Unilateral Administrative Order for cleanup work.

The EPA conducted its first assessment at the Site in 1978 upon the State’s request. The Site was listed on the National Priorities List in 2003. EPA relied on public funding for the initial remedial assessments.

In September 2005, EPA entered into a separate settlement with potentially responsible parties to implement a time-critical removal action at the Ward Transformer plant property and immediately surrounding areas to eliminate the risk of PCB exposure through soil. The removal action was completed in August 2015. Some contaminated material was treated on-site using a thermal treatment technique, while some contaminated soil, material and debris was excavated and transported to an appropriate off-site disposal facility. As a result of these actions, over 488,000 tons of PCB-contaminated soil, material and debris were treated and disposed. The group is currently completing a remedial investigation and feasibility study for the long-term cleanup of the plant property and immediately surrounding areas that is expected to be published this winter.

The settlement, lodged yesterday in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of North Carolina as a consent decree, will be posted in the Federal Register and available for public comment for a period of 30 days. The consent decree can be viewed on the Justice Department website: www.justice.gov/enrd/Consent_Decrees.html.

For more information on the Ward Transformer Superfund Site, please visit: https://cumulis.epa.gov/supercpad/cursites/csitinfo.cfm?id=0406082

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