United States
                  Environmental Protection
                               Solid Waste and
                               Emergency Response
   Summer 1993
Superfund At  Work
Hazardous Waste Cleanup Efforts Nationwide
Site Description:
Disposal pits in a smalt suburban area
in York County, Virginia
Site Size: 27 acres
Primary Contaminants:
Heavy metals (vanadium, nickel,
Potential Range of Health Risks:
Direct contact with contaminants may
have caused central nervous system
Nearby Population Affected:
500 to 1,000 people within one mile
Ecological Concerns:
Contamination of the Chlsman Creek
Coastal Basin
Year Listed on NPL: 1983
EPA Region: i
State: Virginia
Congressional District: 1
 From Fly Ash to Fly Balls — Youngsters prepare to play ball on a site
 once contaminated with fly ash, cinders and the residues from burning
 petroleum coke and coal.
            Success in Brief

            EPA and Virginia Power

            Shine at York County Site

              The Chisman Creek hazardous waste site in York County, Virginia was
            once contaminated with by-products generated from a nearby power
            station. Today, York County residents play baseball and soccer on newly-
            constructed fields covering the former site. The US. Environmental Protec-
            tion Agency (EPA), the Commonwealth of Virginia, and Virginia Power
            worked together to make the area safe for public use. Under two coopera-
            tive agreements, known as consent decrees, Virginia Power:
              • Designed a $10 million site cleanup;
              • Supplied municipal water service to affected residents;
              • Constructed a drainage and water treatment plant to remove
                contaminants from area ground water; and
              • Installed state-of-the-art, lighted baseball and soccer fields on top
                of the cleaned up Superfund site.
                                    The Site Today
                                      In May 1991, the Yorktown community
                                    held a ribbon cutting ceremony to cel-
                                    ebrate the successful cleanup of the
                                    Chisman Creek site and the opening of
                                    recreational fields on the property.
                                      Through the cooperative efforts of EPA,
                                    Virginia Power, the Commonwealth of
                                    Virginia, and York County officials, the
                                    Chisman Creek property has been restored
                                  |  for unrestricted use. Based on community
                                  |  needs, the property has been converted into 4
                                  t  three soccer fields and two baseball fields.
                                  I  Comprehensive site monitoring and ground
                                  \&  water treatment are ongoing. When the
                                    monitoring program is complete, the
                                    Chisman Creek site will be deleted from
                                    EPA's list of hazardous waste sites.

                  Superfund At Work  •  Chisman Creek.York County, VA  •  Summer 1993
              A Site Snapshot
  The Chisman Creek site is
located in a small residential
area in York County, Virginia.
Approximately 500 to 1,000
people live within a one-mile
radius.       H^^_MM.
  More than
1.3 million
cubic yards of
fly ash con-
taminated 27
acres of land
and portions   ^^^^"«"^^^
of the 520-acre watershed of the
Chisman Creek Coastal Basin
on the Virginia Peninsula.
  Studies conducted in 1980 by
the Virginia State Water Con-
trol Board and the Virginia
State Board of Health revealed
contamination by sulf ates and
heavy metals, including vana-
dium, on the waste site and in
surrounding areas.
       More than
 1.3 million cubic yards
of fly ash contaminated
  the Chisman Creek
     Coastal Basin
   Shallow residential wells
 near the site, as well as three
 ponds, a freshwater tributary
 of Chisman Creek, and
 Chisman Creek itself were
 MMB^^MHH contaminated
              with vana-
              dium and
              other heavy
              metals. In
               1980, the state
               closed down
«—^^««^  contaminated
 residential wells after finding
 these contaminants in the
   Prolonged ingestion of
 drinking water polluted by
 heavy metals could have
 caused health problems,
 however, there were no re-
 ported conditions associated
 with this site.
                                             Team Efforts Iran
Fly Ash Seeps Into
Nearby Drinking Water
  From 1957 until 1974, Virginia
Power Company (formerly Virginia
Electric Power Company) mixed
and burned equal portions of petro-

   Coal burning operations
      produced fly ash,
    a solid waste with the
  texture of talcum powder

leum coke and coal in an effort to
produce low-cost fuel for electricity.
  These coal burning operations
produced residues, cinders, and
fly ash - a solid waste similar in
texture to talcum powder. Large
quantities of fly ash - totaling
over 1.3 million cubic yards -
were transported by a private
hauler and deposited into four
separate disposal pits that en-
compass the Chisman Creek site.
 Chisman Creek
                                                  • Door-to-door community relations

                                                 • Site listed on NPL
                              EPA begins extensive investigations
                                       • Congress enacts Superfund
                                1 State confirms vanadium contamination
                                    •Affected residential wells closed
           Coal burned to produce low-cost fuel;
          fly ash by-product dumped in pits on site
         Chicago, IL  60o04-3G90
                         Page 2

                           Superfund At Work  •  Chisman Creek,York County, VA  •   Summer 1993
3rm Waste Site into Community Recreation Facility
        Heavy rains washed the fly ash
      and other sediments from the
      disposal pits into Chisman Creek,
      its tributaries, and ground water
      within and around the disposal
      area. Eventually, the contamina-
      tion seeped into nearby residen-
      tial drinking wells.
        In 1980, the Virginia State
      Water Control Board (VWCB), the
      Virginia State Board of Health,
      and the Virginia Institute of
      Marine Sciences (VIMS) re-
      sponded to local complaints of
      discolored well water.
        Subsequent investigations
      confirmed the presence of vana-
      dium as well as other metals and
      sulfates in the wells. The state
      then shut down the affected wells.
        In December 1980, Congress
      enacted the Comprehensive
      Environmental Response, Com-
      pensation, and Liability Act
      (CERCLA) establishing the
                             "Superfund" program to clean up
                             the nation's hazardous waste
                             sites. One year later, EPA was
                             asked by state officials to evaluate
                             the Chisman Creek Coastal Basin.
                                EPA conducted investigations
                             throughout 1982 and part of 1983.
                             These studies determined the
                                  Comprehensive site
                               studies aimed to prevent
                                exposure to fly ash and
                                  contaminated water
                             nature and extent of contamina-
                             tion resulting from the fly ash and
                             other contaminants. In September
                             1983, the Chisman Creek site was
                             included on the National Priorities
                             List (NPL), EPA's roster of uncon-
                             trolled or abandoned hazardous
                             waste sites requiring cleanup
                             under the Superfund program.
                                                      Chisman Creek
                                                    York County, Virginia
                                                Early in the investigative process,
                                              EPA contacted the Centers for
                                              Disease Control and Prevention
                                              (CDC) to obtain information
                                              about possible health effects
                                              associated with the contaminants.
                                              The CDC was confident that the
                                              shutdown of residential wells in
                                              1980 significantly reduced expo-
                                              sure to contaminants from the site.

                                              Site Restored to
                                              Productive, Valuable Land
                                                EPA could then focus on
                                              finding ways to prevent direct
                                              exposure to the fly ash, protect the
                                              adjacent wetlands, and restore the
                                              area ground water. Due to the
EPA determines cleanup plan
         • U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service consults on ecosystem effects
         • Virginia Power agrees to conduct site cleanup

                   • Ground water and soil cleanup begins

                              Soil cleanup completed
                                                          Chisman Creek Park opens
                                                                        Site ground water monitoring
                                                                          and treatment (on-going)

                     Superfund At Work
      Chisman Creek.York County, VA
Summer 1993
unusual characteristics of vana-
dium, investigations continued
until 1986.
   EPA determined that the
cleanup at the site would best be
accomplished in two phases; the

      EPA consulted the
     Centers for Disease
   Control and Prevention
     on the health effects
         of vanadium

first would address the contami-
nants in the four disposal pits and
area ground water. The second
phase would address the three
ponds, a freshwater tributary, and
Chisman Creek itself.

Virginia Power Steps in
to Manage the Effort
   In 1987 and 1989, EPA success-
fully negotiated with Virginia
Power to participate in the site
   Virginia Power started con-
struction of the first cleanup
phase in April 1988, and finished
work in December 1989. In accor-
dance with EPA's cleanup plan,
Virginia Power:
•  Connected homes affected by
   contaminated ground water to
   existing public water lines;
•  Installed sub-surface drains to
   collect contaminated ground
   water for on-site treatment;
•  Constructed a water treatment
   system to remove contami-
   nants from the ground water;
•  Installed a discharge pipe to
   release treated water from the
  water treatment plant back into
  Chisman Creek;
• Controlled erosion by planting
  protective grasses to prevent
  contamination from being
  carried off site by surface
  water; and
• Covered three of the four
  disposal pits - two with soil
  and one with a clay cap - to
  prevent migration of or direct
  contact with the fly ash. The
  fourth disposal pit was used
  minimally and therefore did
  not need to be covered.
  In addition, cleanup teams
constructed on-
site water quality
monitoring sta-
tions to ensure the
effectiveness of
the  ground water

A Delicate
  Due to the
fragile nature of
the  Chisman
Creek ecosystem,
EPA obtained
assistance for the
second phase of
cleanup from the
U.S. Fish and
Wildlife Service to
determine the
effect of fly ash on
the  ponds, Chis-
man Creek, and
the  marine life in
tributary waters.
   In 1987, the US. Fish and
Wildlife Service determined that
the small amount of contamina-
tion detected did not justify
        Virginia Power
      connected homes
  affected by contaminated
   ground water to existing
      public water lines

disturbing this delicate ecosys-
tem. Cleanup teams could have
              continued on page 5
                                                  Once an environmental liability, the Chisman Creek area
                                                  was posted with "Keep Out" signs.
                                             Page 4

                    Superfund At Work
      Chisman Creek,York County, VA  •   Summer 1993
                       An Informed Community
    Superfund community
  relations efforts are designed to
  keep citizens informed about
  site progress and to provide
  community input into site
    In 1985, EPA and Virginia
  Power committed to keep the
  residents of York County
  involved in the Chisman Creek
  site cleanup. EPA representa-
  tives went door to door to
  notify local citizens about the
  site. After engineers developed
  remedial plans for the site, the
  community was given time to
  express concerns and ask
    During public meetings,
  EPA presented cleanup alterna-
  tives and discussed issues such
as health and ecological risks
posed by site contamination,
future land use, cleanup costs and
procedures, Virginia Power's
involvement, and community
participation in site activities.
  Further, EPA issued periodic
press releases, frequently con-
tacted local officials to
update them on the site's
status, and maintained
information repositories
at the York County Munici-
pal Building, the York-
town Public Library, and
the Chesapeake Bay Foun-
  Throughout site cleanup
activities, information
centers for interested
citizens were maintained at
the local elementary school, the
State Department of Health in
Richmond, and the EPA Re-
gional office in Philadelphia.
  EPA's staff also educated the
local community about the
procedures being taken to
protect natural resources.
          EPA representatives
          went door to door to
          notify area residents
          about the Chisman
          Creek site
 Team Efforts Transform Waste Site
continued from page 4
done more harm by inadvertently
spreading contamination to
unaffected areas. Based on this
information, Virginia Power
began designing phase two of the
cleanup plan.
  In 1989, Virginia Power
installed surface water drainage
controls to divert runoff into the
existing water treatment system.
Virginia Power also initiated a
water quality, sediment quality,
and monitoring program to track
contamination levels.
Cleanup Effectiveness
Is Assured
  Comprehensive monitoring
programs ensure that cleanup
activities are effective and that the
environment remains safe.
      The U.S. Fish and
       Wildlife Service
    assisted in ecosystem
  In December 1989, EPA and the
state conducted a final construc-
tion inspection of the site. Officials
verified the effectiveness of the
day cap, the drainage control
measures, and the water treat-
ment system.
  A comprehensive monitoring
program, as well as ground water
treatment, will continue until
cleanup goals are reached.
                                           Page 5

                      Superfund At Work  •  Chisman Creek.York County, VA
                                Summer 1993
The Home Team Wins
  Initially, the proposed cleanup
plan for the Chisman Creek
Superfund site suggested that
the site be fenced and use of the
property be restricted.
  Local residents, however,
had previously used the site for
recreational purposes such as
motor biking, walking, and
fishing, and they objected to the
placement of barbed wire around
the former disposal pits.
  As a result, Virginia Power and
York County officials worked to
convert the site into a county recre-
ational facility.
  The final conceptual design
included a plan to create softball
and soccer fields on top of the
former disposal area. The recre-
ational facility is now equipped
with field lighting, a parking lot,
and restrooms.
  Chisman Creek is a model of
what can be done to restore a
Superfund site to an area of
public pride. Virginia Power's
experiences exemplify the need
for responsible waste disposal
practices and well-managed
cleanup efforts.
   For additional copies of this or other
  Superfund At Work updates, contact the
  National Technical Information Service,
 U.S. Department of Commerce, 5285 Port
    Royal Road, Springfield, VA 22161,
       telephone (703) 487-4650.
 If you wish to be added to or deleted from
   our mailing list or to comment on this
 bulletin's content, length or format, please
   call (703) 603-8984 or send a letter to
    - Superfund At Work (5502G),
 401 M Street SW, Washington, DC 20460.
    Success at



  Coordinating the efforts
of many state and local
organizations, EPA and
Virginia Power achieved an
exceptional cleanup at the
Chisman Creek site.
  These efforts protected
local citizens and a fragile
ecosystem, surpassing
anticipated goals.
  Residents now gather to
play baseball and soccer on
the reclaimed land.
  > EPA
 United States Environmental Protection Agency
 Washington, D.C. 20460

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