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Fact Sheet

February 2009

Second Five-Year Review Begins, Missouri Electric Works Superfund Site, Cape Girardeau, Cape Girardeau County, Missouri


The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) conducts regular five-year checkups, called five-year reviews, on Superfund sites where cleanups have been completed. These regular five-year reviews are required by the Superfund law [42 U.S.C. Section 9621(c)] to make sure the site remains the same and the cleanup actions continue to protect public health and the environment.

Before remedial actions began, the site posed a potential threat to public health through:


Missouri Electric Works, Inc. (MEW) operated a motor and transformer salvage, repair, and sales operation at the site from 1954 until 1992. PCB contaminated oils and other fluids from the transformers being recycled, were disposed on site.

EPA discovered the PCB contamination of site soils in 1984. Investigation into the nature and extent of the soil contamination between 1984 and 1990 led to the discovery of the ground water contamination. In 1988, MEW was ordered to stop accepting oil-filled equipment with PCB contamination and to install barriers that would stop PCBs moving from the site by way of storm water runoff.

In 1988, a group of potentially responsible parties (PRPs), acting under an Administrative Order on Consent (AOC), performed the final soil investigations. A high PCB level in the soil was confirmed. PCBs and chlorobenzene were later detected in the ground water.

A 1990 Record of Decision (ROD), followed by an Explanation of Significant Differences in 1995, allowed for the on-site thermal treatment of contaminated soils (including both thermal destruction and thermal desorption). Another ROD completed in 1995, included a Technical Impracticability Waiver addressing the deep migration of PCBs and solvents in bedrock ground water which cannot feasibly be remediated. The soil cleanup began in 1999 and was completed in 2000. The Ground Water Remedial Investigation/Feasibility Study was completed in 2004 and the long-term monitoring continues.

Additional assessment of the wetlands area and the risks to its animal and plant life is ongoing. Human exposure was addressed in the wetlands area in 2007, with the construction of a fence to prevent access and the posting of warning signs in response to the detection of PCBs in all the fish sampled.  

First Five-Year Review

The First Five-Year Review in 2004 concluded the soil remedy is protective of human health and the environment. Additional recommendations were made to continue ground water monitoring to determine plume migration and if natural attenuation is occurring, investigate the wetlands and conduct additional risk assessment of the ecological impacts to assure future protectiveness of and address additional corrective action needs.

This Five-Year Review

During the five-year review, EPA and MDNR will inspect the site and study site information to make sure the soil remedy continues to be protective of human health and the environment. We encourage the community to tell us about site conditions or concerns you may have.

At the end of the review, a final report will be prepared and will be available in the site information repositories.

Additional Information

Detailed site information can be found in the Missouri Electric Works Administrative Record, at the following locations, during normal business hours:

Cape Girardeau Public Library
711 N. Clark St.
Cape Girardeau, Mo.

EPA Records Center
901 N. Fifth St.
Kansas City, Kan.

Questions or requests for information can be submitted to:

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

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