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System to Treat Organic Chemicals in Surface Water Begins Operating near Mills Gap Site (Former CTS Plant)

Release Date: 04/16/2009
Contact Information: Davina Marraccini, (404) 562-8293,

(ATLANTA – APRIL 16, 2009) The CTS Corporation, with oversight from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Region 4, has begun to operate a system to treat trichloroethene (TCE) and other organic chemicals at springs near the former CTS plant in Asheville, N.C. CTS contractors are operating the system and conducting checks to optimize its effectiveness. The system will be evaluated over a six-month period.

The construction and operation of the treatment system were laid out as part of an amendment to the Statement of Work required under the 2004 Administrative Order on Consent between EPA, Mills Gap Road Associates and CTS Corporation. A geological investigation to support the design of the system was conducted last fall, and pilot-scale testing took place over the winter. The system uses 20 underground injection points to inject ozone underground where groundwater and the affected springs come together. Ozone, which is a powerful oxidant, destroys TCE through a chemical reaction. Over the next six months, EPA and CTS will evaluate if this method of injecting ozone is effective in removing TCE from the springs as well as from ambient air near the springs.

The site is located off Mills Gap Road, approximately one mile east of Skyland, in Buncombe County, N.C. and consists of approximately nine acres of maintained grounds containing a large, single-story building. From 1959 to 1986, CTS operated an electroplating facility at the site. The chemical compound TCE was employed by CTS to clean and/or degrease metal objects prior to electroplating. In 1987, Mills Gap Road Associates (MGRA) purchased the site and is the current owner.

In 2002, EPA, CTS, and MGRA entered into an Administrative Order on Consent to conduct a Time-Critical Removal Action at the site. CTS and MGRA were required to address contamination in the area above the aquifer saturated with groundwater, and a Soil Vapor Extraction system was constructed for this purpose. The system was completed in July 2006 and has removed more than 5,300 pounds of contaminants.

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