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EPA, 3 firms agree to plan for Jackson County waste site

RAVENSWOOD, W.Va. -- Three companies have agreed to work on a former industrial site in Ravenswood to prevent a waste pile loaded with cyanide and fluoride from contaminating soil and groundwater, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency said Wednesday.

The 2.7-acre waste site is fenced off inside an active industrial complex about 900 feet from the Ohio River.

The EPA said it has reached a consent agreement on the 50,000 cubic yards of toxic waste with TRC Companies, TRC Environmental Corp. and Ravenswood Holdings Company, all incorporated in Delaware.

The site was originally part of a Kaiser Aluminum plant.

Between 1972 and 1989, smelting wastes were stockpiled on concrete and clay pads, awaiting shipment for mineral recycling. But that kind of recycling stopped in the late 1970s, and regulators later determined that cyanide had leached into groundwater, threatening the river and species that depend on it.

In 1995, Kaiser agreed to an investigation of the site, and that was completed two years later.

Regulators concluded the best way to prevent the toxic materials from leaching into groundwater was to leave the material in place and seal it off with a rubber membrane liner.

In 2004, Kaiser sold the waste site in bankruptcy proceedings, and TRC Environmental took over.

Last year, EPA again decided to keep the waste on-site and order repair and maintenance of the existing liner until it can be replaced.

The agreement requires the companies to immediately notify EPA if they discover there have been any new releases of hazardous waste.

The agency said it received no public comments when it put the proposal out for review last fall.


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