As part of the Region 4 Virginia-Carolina Chemical Company (VCC) Initiative with Exxon Mobil Corporation, an inventory of 40 former VCC facilities were identified which may have been contaminated with heavy metals from historic operations at a former phosphate fertilizer plant. The properties were targeted for future assessment and cleanup where warranted. The VCC Columbus Site(the Site) was one of the 40 areas targeted. The Site is located in Columbus, Muscogee County, Georgia within a mix use residential and commercial area. The Site is comprised of 22.5 acres, most of which have been redeveloped into approximately 32 parcels of mixed use residential and commercial properties. The three largest parcels on the site are currently occupied by All American Recycling Company which recycles paper waste. The remaining parcels are predominantly occupied with single and multi family residences.
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The Site was screened and sampled to identify conditions which would trigger a removal action by the EPA in order to remove or minimize any potential threats to human health or the environment. There was no visible evidence of the former structures utilized to process the phosphate fertilizer product. The Removal Site Evaluation (RSE) included the review of historic documentation and the completion of a soil sampling event with XRF screening and confirmatory lab analysis. The RSE disclosed that there is significant surficial lead and arsenic contamination throughout the sampled areas of the residential properties. Small children and elderly persons reside at several of the homes where lead and arsenic were detected in the surface soils.
On May 30, 2006, EPA's Emergency Response and Removal Branch (ERRB) sampled the Site to determine the full extent of contamination in the area. One industrial property, 6 residential properties, an elementary school playground, and a right away were sampled. Analytical results from the sampling event revealed the presence of elevated levels of lead and arsenic in residential surface soils at the Site. The arsenic and lead contamination was detected in the soils as high as 1,400 mg/kg and 13,000 mg/kg, respectively. Based on the high levels of lead and arsenic in surface soils and the potential threat posed by these contaminants to public health or the environment, the Site was recommended for a time-critical removal to remove the arsenic-and-lead-contaminated soils.
The hazardous conditions identified at the Site meet the National Oil and Hazardous Substances Pollution Contingency Plan (NCP) Section 300.415(b)(2) criteria for determining the appropriateness of a removal action. Actual or threatened releases of hazardous substances from this site, if not addressed by implementing the response action selected in the Action Memorandum, may present an imminent and substantial endangerment to public health, welfare, or the environment. A time-critical removal action is tentatively planned for Spring 2007.