Thursday, April 19, 2012

Contamination Poster Child Heading for Remedial Actions

By: Duane Craig

Remedial actions at the Sonford Products Superfund Site at 3951 Underwood Dr. in Flowood, Miss., are set to begin soon, according to a press release from the Environmental Protection Agency.

While Sonford International and Sonford Products operated the site from 1972 to 1985, there were a few incidents that gained notoriety for the location and ultimately led to the closure of the facility and its assignment to Superfund status. Sonford made liquids containing pentachlorophenol, or PCP. Some of those liquids were used to provide short-term mildew protection for wood products, while others were used to control pests such as beetles and wood borers. The liquids would also control mold growth and sap staining on freshly cut lumber, according to the EPA’s narrative on the site.

The process to make the products was an arduous one in which blocks of PCP would be broken and crushed and then mixed with caustic soda before finally being dried in a gas-fired dryer. During other processes, the PCP blocks were mixed with solvents and hexalene glycol in a blending tank where heat was applied.

There were allegations in early 1980 that an employee at the facility had died from exposure to high levels of PCP. Then, in 1983, one of the reactors holding glycol ether, sodium hydroxide, and tetrachlorophenol caught on fire and sent a vapor cloud over a nearby residential area. On three occasions, from 1983 through 1985, the Mississippi Department of Natural Resources, Bureau of Pollution Control, told Sonford to clean up air and wastewater violations. Finally, there was a spill of 2,000 gallons of PCP in 1985 that ended up requiring the removal of 2,500 cubic yards of contaminated soil, disposal of 10,000 gallons of oil and treating solution, and treatment and disposal of wastewater.

The new remedial actions will tackle more soil cleanup to mitigate inorganic, volatile organic and extractable organic, pesticide, dioxin, and dibenzofuran compounds. It will also address cleanup of wetlands near the property, where there are elevated levels of lindane, lead, arsenic, PCP, toxaphene, dioxin and dibenzofurans.

No comments: