The Kerr- McGee Chemical (Columbus) Site is comprised of approximately 90 acres, and is located at 2300 North 14th Avenue in Columbus, Mississippi. The facility was operational from approximately 1928 to 2003. It is now closed. While operational, Kerr-McGee manufactured pressure-treated railroad products such as wooden crossties, switch ties, and timbers. The production processes at the site utilized creosote and creosote coal tar solutions to produce pressure-treated wood products. The facility also used pentachlorophenol (PCP) for wood-treating from the 1950s until the mid-1970s.
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Soil, sediment and ground water are contaminated with chemicals associated with creosote and pentachlorophenol wood treating processes. Cleanup actions have occurred under state and federal RCRA programs, but they are incomplete. There is an active ground water treatment system on the former plant site that is operating under the oversight of the State RCRA program. Drainage ditches down gradient of the site are contaminated, and contaminants may have spread to adjacent residential yards through flooding. Tronox, successor to Kerr-McGee and the sole potentially responsible party, has declared bankruptcy. Efforts to settle the bankruptcy are ongoing, and in the interim some funds have been provided to keep the ground water treatment system operating. The funding set aside is inadequate to completely address the site contamination.
The EPA Superfund Removal Program intends to conduct a removal assessment to identify the levels and extent of contamination in the community surrounding the site. The initial phase of this work will involve the collection of soil and sediment samples at properties near the drainage pathways associated with the site. Representatives from EPA will contact a select number of property owners to request property access for EPA sample collection scheduled for late October 2010. The sampling results will be evaluated by EPA to determine if further action, including additional sampling or cleanup, is necessary for the property.
On October 14, 2010, EPA will be hosting a Community Meeting in Columbus, MS, to discuss the Superfund process and outline the path forward for the project.