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Contaminated site in Cape to receive third review by EPA

Monday, September 16, 2013

A Cape Girardeau superfund site is scheduled to receive its third review to ensure cleanup efforts continue to protect human health and the environment.

According to Dan Gravatt, project manager for the Missouri Electric Works site, the review by the Environmental Protection Agency is essentially a checkup.

"The EPA will visit the site to see if there are any changing circumstances and make sure what we determined as the appropriate remedy is still working," he said.

He said the EPA also will analyze any data collected since the last review.

The 6-acre site is at 824 S. Kingshighway. The contaminant of concern is polychlorinated biphenyl or PCB, which was widely used as a coolant fluid in transformers and electric motors.

From 1954 to 1992, Missouri Electric Works sold, serviced and reconditioned electric motors, transformers and capacitors on the site. An EPA investigation in 1989 and 1990 found site soils and adjacent properties were contaminated with PCBs.

The property is privately owned, Gravatt said, and the owners are financially responsible for cleanup efforts.

The site has been divided into three "operable units" -- the first unit for soil contamination, the second for groundwater contamination and the third for sediment contamination in the adjacent wetlands.

Gravatt said a soil cleanup plan was implemented about five years ago. The contaminated soil was dug up, treated and placed back on the site.

As the EPA begins its review, he said that remedy and its current status will be the focus.

"The purpose of this five-year review first and foremost is to primarily look at the remedy for unit one, basically to check for any new circumstances at the site," Gravatt said.

A storage facility recently added to the site falls under the category of "new circumstances," he said, but likely it would not have any effect on the soils or treatment.

The review also takes into account any changes made to laws regarding contamination or new information revealed from recent studies.

A treatment has been selected for groundwater contamination, and Gravatt said it has not yet been implemented. For now, he said the EPA is closely monitoring contaminated groundwater to make sure it doesn't reach public wells, creeks or other public water sources.

The EPA still is investigating unit three to determine the size and scope of PCB contamination in adjacent wetlands. Gravatt said it is too early to determine a timeline for treatment, and that public hearings will be held in the area before any action is taken.

A final report will be prepared at the end of the review and will be available at the Cape Girardeau Public Library. The review should be complete by July 2014.

srinehart@semissourian.com

388-3641

Pertinent address:

824 S. Kingshighway, Cape Girardeau, Mo.


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