The Ecusta Mill is a former flax pulping and paper manufacturing facility that was built in 1939 and was operational until 2002. Cellophane production also occurred at the facility for approximately 30 years. In addition, the following activities have occurred at the Site: chlorine production operations using Sorenson mercury cells (electro-chemical building); caustic storage; water and wastewater treatment; and printing. EPA's Removal Program and the North Carolina Department of Environment and Natural Resources (NC DENR) first responded when the plant was closed down in 2002. Of primary concern were potential releases from an interruption of power to the basement sumps under the production buildings. The EPA Environmental Response Team conducted sampling of the concrete floor, the sub-floor, and soils under the electro-chemical building and sediments in on-site ditches. This sampling confirmed the presence of mercury in the sub-floor structures to 16 feet below ground surface (580 mg/kg) and the floor drains (260 mg/kg) of the electro-chemical building, in the indoor air and in the overland drainage ditches which had received historic discharge from the building.
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An Expanded Site Inspection (ESI) was conducted by EPA Region 4, Science and Ecosystem Support Division and the State in March, 2004. The ESI focused on two main areas of concern, the electro-chemical building and the Aeration and Sedimentation Basin (ASB) area. Mercury was detected in soils adjacent to the electro-chemical building, in sediments in the on-site drainage ditches and in sediments of the Davison River immediately adjacent to the manufacturing area. The ESI also confirmed soils and sediments in other areas of the site are contaminated with mercury and dioxin. Groundwater sampling has confirmed low-levels of mercury in groundwater near the electro-chemical building, low levels of carbon disulfide and 1,1-Dichloroethane near the cellophane plant, and a high pH reading (pH 12.17) in the area of a previous caustic spill.
The Site is located at 1 Ecusta Road in Pisgah Forest, North Carolina. The Site consists of the portions of the former manufacturing facility located at 1 Ecusta Road and properties located east of Davidson River Road, which include industrial solid waste landfills and an ASB used for facility waste water treatment.
The total Site is approximately 527 acres in a mixed-use residential/industrial area. The manufacturing facility is approximately 213 acres. The nearest residence is located immediately adjacent to the fence line on the southern boundary of the factory site, and others are directly across the Davidson River.
The ASB has a surface area of approximately 75 acres and was used for wastewater treatment. The ASB also receives storm water from approximately one-third of the site, including those areas historically most actively involved in paper production. Operation of the ASB is conducted pursuant to National Pollutant Discharge Elimination Permit #0000078, issued by the NC DENR Division of Water Quality (DWQ).
The following industrial solid waste landfills are located at the Site: the Island landfill, which is an unlined industrial landfill, operated under permit #88-05 issued by the predecessor agency of NC DENR Division of Waste Management for the disposal of process waste generated at the facility; the new ash landfill (Brown #2 ash landfill), which is an unlined industrial landfill, operated under permit #88-01 issued by the predecessor agency of NC DENR Division of Waste Management for the disposal of coal ash generated at the facility; the old ash and sludge landfills (Brown #1), which are unlined industrial landfills which do not have permit numbers issued. The previous site owner is in the process of closing all landfills in compliance with State permit requirements.
A small arms firing range has been historically operated on the Site south of the main manufacturing operations on a largely undeveloped parcel of land near the confluence of the Davidson and French Broad Rivers. Lead impacted soil has been document from the historic firing range.
The Ecusta Mill was built by Ecusta, Inc. in 1939. The plant was purchased and operated by Olin Industries from approximately 1949 to 1987. The P.H. Glatfelter Company purchased the facility from Olin, and operated until 2001. In August 2001, Glatfelter sold the mill to Purico Limited. This owner dispersed much of the companies capital prior to declaring banckruptcy and closing the mill one year later (August 2002).
A small buisness purchased the plant during banckruptcy. Ecusta Buisness Development Company (EBDC) attempted to re-start pulping operations at the plant in 2003, was unsuccessful. Renova Partners, a Brownfields redevelopment company purchased the property in January 2008. Renova formed a subsidiary company Davidson River Village, LLC (DRV) who is conducting complete demolition of all on-site structures prior to site redevelopment. D.H. Griffin was retained by DRV to conduct the demolitiion.
DRV is conducting the Removal Activities at the site under an AOC with EPA. They have hired Shaw Environmental as the lead environmental contractor.
Removal Activities include a Time Critical Removal Action and 2 Non-Time Critical Removal Actions. Site updates will be prepared periodically in the POLREP section of this site. Removal Activities include:
Removal of all materials in the Former Olin Disposal Area at the back portion of the site.
Slab Removal for identified buildings, or slab break-up. Visual inspection and field screening of the slabs and the sub-surface soils in the area where slabs are to be removed. Laboratory analysis to confirm soil contamination. Soil determined to be impacted with contamination in excess of The North Carolina Inactive Hazardous Sites Program guidelines for Assessment and Cleanup, (August, 2007) Health-based and Groundwater Protection Soil Remediation Goals will be addressed by off-site disposal, or by stockpiling and/or containment until it can be addressed during the non-time critical removal action which is planned for the site. The ultimate method selected for addressing impacted soil will be determined in the field by the OSC.
Excavation and off-site disposal of soil in the Rifle Range area with contamination exceeding 400 mg/kg of lead.
Demolition of Building 58 (the electro-chemical building) and Building 56 (adjacent, interconnected building). Characterization of Buildings 58 and 56 structural debris. All waste streams shall be disposed of by appropriate measures as determined by the disposal profile. Removal and disposal of the building floor slabs of Building 58 and Building 56 and characterization of the soil and groundwater in, on and under the Electro-Chemical Building Area will be performed under a Non-Time Critical Removal Action.
Drainage Structure Removal, excavation and off-site disposal of contaminated soils in the East and South Drainage ditches.