US Titanium NPL Response

All POL/SITREP's for this site US Titanium NPL Response
Piney River, VA - EPA Region III
Initial and Final
Printer Friendly  |   PDF
US Titanium NPL Response - Removal Polrep
Initial Removal Polrep

EPA Emergency Response

Region III

Subject: POLREP #1
Initial and Final
US Titanium NPL Response

Piney River, VA

From: Myles Bartos, OSC
Date: 10/18/2016
Reporting Period: October 12-18, 2016

1. Introduction
  1.1 Background
Site Number:      Contract Number:  
D.O. Number:      Action Memo Date:  
Response Authority: CERCLA    Response Type: Emergency
Response Lead:    Incident Category: Removal Assessment
NPL Status: NPL    Operable Unit:
Mobilization Date:      Start Date:  
Demob Date:      Completion Date:  
ERNS No.:    State Notification:
FPN#:    Reimbursable Account #:

The site in question is listed on the National Priorities List and has been under remediation since the 1980's. The site, U.S. Titanium, is a 50-acre site formerly occupied by an American Cyanamid Company plant which refined titanium ore and manufactured titanium dioxide for paint pigments from 1931 until 1971. Following plant closure, the processing plant, settling ponds, tailings ponds, wastewater lagoons and a waste disposal area remained on site. Ferrous sulfate, a highly acidic by-product of titanium dioxide manufacturing, and heavy metals (aluminum, iron, copper, nickel and zinc) are the primary site contaminants.  Corrective actions have been primarily related to heavy metal contamination of the soil and groundwater. The site profile may be viewed at

On August 31, 2016, Solvay USA was conducting an investigation at an NPL SIte ("US Titanium") in Piney River, Virginia.  The investigation was a result of the identification of a debris pile ("mound").   During the investigation, which included excavation using a backhoe, gamma radiation was detected using a geiger counter.  The geiger counter showed approximately 23,000 counts per minute with background being 1,300 counts per minute.

On October 11th, based on the recommendation of EPA Region 3 Radiation Program Manager, (Aquino), the incident was reported to the National Response Center ("NRC")  See NRC report # 1161311.

2. Current Activities
  2.1 Operations Section
    On October 12th, US EPA On-Scene Coordinator ("OSC") Bartos, Virginia Department of Emergency Management ("VDEM"), and the Virginia Department of Health ("VDH") met with the Site Operator (pump and treat operator at the facility) to conduct an investigation.  

The OSC obtained verbal authorization from the responsible party to enter the property prior to arrival. 

Upon entry the group went to the area of concern.  The debris pile ("mound") is located near the Piney River. There is a public access trail the is adjacent to the river and is accessible to the public.   The mound has several drum carcasses in and around it along with various other debris.   There are also some downed trees. 

Discussions with representatives from the company indicates that six (6) test pits were excavated in August.  In pits #1 and #6 there were elevated radiological activity.  A sample from one of the pits was collected and sent to a lab for analyses.  The material appeared to be a portion of a filter bag. The pits were subsequently backfilled and concealed with brush.

VDH conducted a survey of the area using several instruments.   All readings appeared to be background.  They ranged from 10-30 uR/hr or 30-100 counts per minute depending on the equipment utilized.

The OSC, based on this information, has determined that no immediate threat to human health or the environment exists.   However, there are numerous questions to be asked regarding notification processes.  The responsible company apparently had knowledge of the potential issue as early as February 2016.  During a late summer/early fall site walk with the RPM, the responsible party did not mention the situation.   Further investigation efforts may be warranted based on current conditions and analytical results.  

The Remedial Project Manager will continue to have primary authority over the site as per the National Contingency Plan ("NCP").   OSC Bartos will assist as requested, but does not anticipate further involvement. 

Discussions  regarding fence installation, further assessment, and any outreach will be discussed with appropriate parties including EPA, VDH, and the responsible party. 

  2.2 Planning Section
    There are no additional plans for the removal response section to continue activities.   OSC Bartos will assist RPM Denmark if requested. 

  2.3 Logistics Section
    No information available at this time.

  2.4 Finance Section
    No information available at this time.

  2.5 Other Command Staff
    No information available at this time.

3. Participating Entities

Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)

Virginia Department of Emergency Management (VDEM)

Virginia Department of Health (VDH)

4. Personnel On Site

EPA On-Scene Coordinator  Bartos

VDEM  personnel

VDH personnel

5. Definition of Terms
  No information available at this time.

6. Additional sources of information
  No information available at this time.

7. Situational Reference Materials
  No information available at this time.