From 1970 to 1984, the Shaffer Equipment Company built electrical substations for the local coal mining industry. The substations incorporated various types of transformers, capacitors, switches, and related voltage regulation and distribution devices. Oil containing polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) was used in the electrical transformers and other equipment. The Shaffer Equipment Company stored nonessential, damaged or outdated transformers and capacitors on the site property.
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The West Virginia Department of Natural Resources (WVDNR) inspected the site in September 1984 and found several hundred transformers and capacitors on the site. Analysis of a composite surface soil sample and a grab soil/sediment sample from a site drainage ditch to Arbuckle Creek indicated elevated levels of PCBs in the material.
At the request of WVDNR the United States Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) investigated the site and subsequently performed two contaminated soil removal actions. The first removal action was performed from December 1984 through December 1987. The second removal action was conducted from November 1990 through January 1991.
In 1997, the USEPA was notified that an act of vandalism at the site had caused a fire at the remaining building that contained materials with PCBs. The USEPA conducted another assessment and contracted the United States Army Corps of Engineers (USACOE) to design a cap for the remaining contaminated soils and building debris. The USACOE completed the construction of the cap in 2002.
In early 2017, residents contacted WVDEP and USEPA to express their continued concern about the potential migration of contamination from the Shaffer Equipment Company Site into the surrounding area.
USEPA is currently conducting an assessment of the Shaffer Equipment Site and the surrounding area in Minden, WV. In June 2017, EPA collected samples at the Shaffer Equipment Site and approximately one mile down Arbuckle Creek.