From 1929 until 1971, Solutia, Inc. (Solutia) and its corporate predecessors owned and operated a plant that manufactured polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) in Anniston, Alabama. During that time, millions of pounds of PCBs were reportedly released from the plant through the disposal of PCB liquids, sludges, and other wastes into unlined and uncapped landfills, as well as other areas outside of the plant. In addition, PCBs from the manufacturing process were released into surface
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soil, and particulates then migrated during rain and flood events to ditches and runoff paths that flowed into Snow Creek and downstream waterways.
The EPA entered into a Consent Decree with Solutia and Pharmacia Corporation for the Anniston PCB site, which was entered by the District Court for the Northern District of Alabama on August 4, 2003 in Civil Action Number CV-02-C-0749-E. Under the Consent Decree, Solutia conducted time critical and non-time critical
removal activities at numerous properties in and around Anniston.
While investigating the Anniston PCB site in 1999 and 2000, the EPA became aware of elevated concentrations of lead that were present in soil on some residential properties. While the exact source of the lead contamination was unknown, it was suspected to have originated from several active and inactive foundries located in and around Anniston. In the past, local residents were allowed to take fill material from these foundries for use on their properties.
In 2001, the EPA initiated a time critical removal action at the Anniston Lead site to address contaminated properties using a cleanup standard of 400 milligrams per kilogram (mg/kg) for residential soils. From 2001 through May 2005, EPA collected soil samples from approximately 1,567 properties. Lead concentrations exceeding the cleanup standard of 400 mg/kg were identified at more than 300 properties. Removal activities were conducted at approximately 132 properties. Excavation and restoration activities were conducted by CMC, Inc., the EPA Emergency and Rapid Response Services (ERRS) contractor beginning in April 2002.
In July 2005, the EPA entered into an Administrative Agreement and Order on Consent (AOC) for Removal Action with the potentially responsible parties group for the Anniston Lead site, known as the Foothills Community Partnership (FCP),
which was formed in January 2005. Removal activities performed by FCP under the AOC included collecting samples from a total of 4,562 properties. Lead concentrations exceeding the cleanup standard of 400 mg/kg were identified at
approximately 796 properties. FCP conducted removal activities at a total of 597 properties.
In October 2009, the EPA initiated additional removal activities associated with contaminated properties that were located outside of zones established under the AOC. From October 2009 through March 2010, the EPA ERRS contractor, WRSCompass, completed removal and restoration activities at 15 properties.
In October 2011, FCP demobilized from the Site. In December 2011, OSC Warren Dixon retired from the Agency and oversight of this Time-Critical Removal Action was transferred to OSC Carter Williamson. In February 2012, the site files were removed from the EPA Community Outreach office in Anniston and returned to the EPA Region 4 Office for scanning and storage. In April 2012, the EPA Community Outreach Office for the lead removal actions was permanently closed.
On March 27, 2012, in a letter to the EPA Region 4 Regional Administrator, the Calhoun County Commission (responsible for the City of Anniston and City of Oxford, AL) requested that EPA conduct an environmental assessment of Right of Way (ROW) storm water drainage ditches in Zones A through D as part of the Anniston PCB and Lead Site initiative.
In July 2012, after reviewing this request, and conducting a thorough review of the request, sampling locations, maps etc., EPA, with the assistance of START staff will conduct surface sampling activities within the Calhoun County ROW drainage ditches adjacent to approximately 56 residential properties. These residential properties fall outside the city limits of Anniston, West Anniston, Hobson City, and Oxford. These locations were selected based on elevated concentrations of contaminants (lead and PCBs) in soil samples previously collected.