The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Region 7 is considering a proposal for a former Sporlan plant in Washington to expedite cleanup of the site.

The EPA held a Public Availability Session Tuesday night to provide a site update and propose the next steps regarding the Sporlan Valve Plant 1 Superfund Site.

The site is located at 611 E. Seventh St., Washington, and is owned by SV Land Co., LLC.

According to the EPA, the agency is considering a proposal to list the site on the National Priorities List (NPL).

The NPL listing is the agency’s list of sites of national priority among the known contaminated sites throughout the U.S. and its territories. Listing the site on the NPL can be an effective way to address soil and groundwater contamination, and would allow the EPA to further investigate soil and groundwater and possibly remediate it.

EPA has completed an assessment at the site characterizing the source area from the surface to bedrock on the former factory site, and conducting indoor air sampling at 24 residential homes near the site.

According to the EPA, the site qualifies for the NPL based on its Hazard Ranking System score. Before a site is formally proposed for the final NPL, EPA seeks the concurrence of the state with the proposed listing, which the EPA is now seeking. 

The EPA typically proposes and adds sites to the final NPL twice a year, in the spring and fall. As EPA continues through the NPL listing process, it will continue to ensure residents remain protected from contaminants at the site by conducting sampling and installing vapor mitigation systems as necessary.

TCE Found

In October 2016, the EPA began testing for trichloroethylene (TCE) at the former Sporlan Valve site. The site was first developed as a refrigeration valve manufacturing facility in 1939.

According to the EPA, the testing indicates a release of TCE into the ground, potentially over several decades, resulting in contaminated soil and groundwater beneath the facility. TCE has been detected in groundwater, soil gas, and indoor air surrounding the site.

Tanks on the site were used to store TCE. The TCE leaked and impacted the soil and groundwater under the site.

The leak was discovered between 2003 and 2006. Parker Hannifin was in the process of purchasing Sporlan and environmental assessments were done on the site.

Parker Hannifin ultimately did not purchase the site. SV Land, LLC, purchased the property in December 2004 and the building was torn down in 2011.

Once the TCE was detected on the site, SV Land joined a voluntary cleanup program run by the Missouri Department of Natural Resources. Five monitoring wells were installed near the site to monitor the area for TCE and other contaminants in the air.

Vapor intrusion is a process by which volatile chemicals in soil and groundwater can migrate into and accumulate inside buildings. Vapor mitigation systems reduce concentrations of airborne contamination, so they do not pose health risks. 

According to Ben Washburn, public affairs specialist with the EPA Region 7, SV Land has installed 18 Vapor Mitigation Systems in homes near the site. The EPA has installed one vapor mitigation system for a total of 19 installed. 

Washburn said there were about 60 people who attended Tuesday’s meeting at the KC Hall.

On Monday, June 4, Washington City Administrator Darren Lamb told the city council that the city has interest in the cleanup of the site, which could be the location of moderately priced housing in the future.

TCE is the primary contaminant of concern at the site. Exposure to TCE poses potential human health hazards to the central nervous system, kidney, liver, immune system, male reproductive system and developing fetus.

TCE is characterized by EPA as “carcinogenic in humans” by all routes of exposure. Other contaminants of concern at this site include vinyl chloride and dichloroethene, both of which are breakdown byproducts of the degradation of TCE in the environment.