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Fact Sheet

May 2010

Engineering Evaluation/Cost Analysis and Administrative Record Available for Public Comment, Columbus Former Manufactured Gas Plant, Columbus, Platte County, Nebraska


EPA Region 7 and the Nebraska Department of Environmental Quality (NDEQ) invite the public to comment on the Engineering Evaluation/Cost Analysis (EE/CA) for the Columbus Former Manufactured Gas Plant (FMGP). The EE/CA evaluates cleanup alternatives for hazardous substances remaining on a site, and recommends a specific response action to ensure the protection of human health and the environment.


The Columbus FMGP site is generally located at 1169 22nd Avenue in Columbus, Nebraska. Gas for heating, lighting and other purposes was manufactured from coal into utility gas at the site from approximately 1908 until 1932. Waste products of this process include coal tar and other coal tar-related contaminants and are present in the soil and groundwater at the site. The site is still owned and operated as an industrial site by a natural gas utility.

Public Comment Period
A 30-Day Public Comment Period will begin on May 15, 2010 and end on June 15, 2010. During this period, citizens are encouraged to provide comments on the EE/CA.

Written comments may be directed to:

Fritz Hirter
U.S. EPA Region 7 -- 901 N. Fifth St.
Kansas City, KS 66101
Toll free: 800-223-0425
E-mail: hirter.fritz@epa.gov

Public Meeting

EPA will hold a public meeting to provide information, answer questions, and take your comments on the EE/CA for the Columbus FMGP. The session will be held:

Tuesday, May 18, 2010
5:30 – 8:00 p.m.
Columbus City Council Chambers
1369 25th Avenue
Columbus, Nebraska

Representatives from EPA will be available to answer questions.

EPA Region 7 is committed to providing reasonable accommodations to individuals with disabilities. If you require a reasonable accommodation to participate in the public meeting, please notify the EPA Reasonable Accommodations Coordinator, Jonathan Cooper at (800-223-0425), or by e-mail at: cooper.jonathan@epa.gov at least seven (7) days prior to the meeting. Speech or hearing impaired individuals should e-mail or call using the local relay service.

Recommended Cleanup Actions

In accord with an agreement with the EPA, Centel Corporation and Black Hills Energy conducted investigations and prepared an EE/CA for the site. The EE/CA presents the results of the evaluation of alternatives for responding to the release or threat of release of hazardous substances into the environment from the site. The EE/CA, as prepared by Centel Corporation and Black Hills Energy, recommends that the following response actions be taken:

For on-site contaminated soil: 
The proposed response is excavation of contaminated soils down to the groundwater and:

(a) off-site disposal of contaminated soils at a licensed landfill, backfilling the excavated areas with clean fill, and imposing institutional controls; or

(b)  treatment by thermal desorption and imposing institutional controls.

Institutional controls (ICs), are non-engineered controls such as restrictive covenants, easements, zoning, and ordinances that limit the use of real property and help minimize the potential for human exposure to contamination and/or protect the integrity of the remedy.

Thermal desorption is an environmental remediation technology that uses heat to increase the volatility of contaminants so they can be separated or removed from the soil. It is not incineration.

For off-site contaminated soils:
The proposed response is excavation of contaminated soils down to 10 feet below ground surface and:

(a) off-site disposal of contaminated soils at a licensed landfill, backfilling the excavated areas with clean fill;


(b)  treatment by thermal desorption.

The proposed response for contaminated soils greater than 10 feet below ground surface is to leave the soil in place and use ICs to limit potential human exposure to the contaminants.

For groundwater:
The recommended response to address contaminated groundwater at the site is groundwater monitoring as a post-removal site control. The property is already located within the Columbus Institutional Control Area which prevents exposure to the groundwater by preventing the installation of groundwater wells.

Additional Information

EPA encourages the community to review the EE/CA and the Administrative Record, which are available at the following locations during normal business hours:

Columbus Public Library EPA Records Center
2504 14th St. 901 N. Fifth St.
Columbus, Nebraska Kansas City, Kansas

Questions or requests for information can be submitted to Fritz Hirter at 800-223-0425.

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