Former Spartanburg fertilizer plant to pay $2 million to cleanup site

Former Spartanburg fertilizer plant to pay $2 million to cleanup site

Source:, Jun3 26, 2014
By: Lynne P. Shackleford

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency officials reviewed a $2 million project to neutralize metals found in soil on the northeast corner of the former IMC fertilizer plant site in Spartanburg.

A handful of residents attended the public meeting Thursday evening at the C.C. Woodson Community Center. This is the last phase of cleanup planned on the site, on which many tons of contaminated material was removed in 2011. Officials said 2,875 tons of limestone already have been placed to neutralize acidic levels in the soil.

However, soil samples taken in 2013 showed traces of metals, including beryllium, cadmium, nitrate and fluoride were found about 10 feet below the surface, said remedial project manager Giezelle Bennett. The metals become an issue after rain, which seeps below the surface, allows the metals to escape from the soil and flow into Fairforest Creek, Bennett said.

Residents, however, use water from Spartanburg Water and don’t use wells, so it isn’t considered a safety issue and isn’t believed to be hazardous, she said.

IMC will pay the estimated $2 million it will take to further clean the site and EPA and the S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control have proposed using infiltration galleries. A series of eight- to 10-foot trenches will be dug on-site and 2-foot pipes will be inserted. Sodium carbonate will be placed in the pipes to help neutralize the soil and groundwater.

It will take 15 years for the soil to be completely neutralized, she said.

Elaine Sims, a resident who attended the meeting, asked about the effectiveness of the proposed plan. Bennett said it was completely safe and would address both the contaminated groundwater and soil.

Two other proposals would take longer to become effective and would only address the contaminated soil.

Bennett said that although the metal levels detected are low, state and federal laws require any contamination to be remediated.

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