ENVIRONMENT AND SUSTAINABILITY HEADLINESEnvironment and Sustainability
EPA Cleanup Underway at Former Gulf States Steel Site
Aug. 2, 2007
The EPA Superfund removal action at the site of the former Gulf States Steel in Gadsden, Ala., began this week. The removal action at the site is a short-term cleanup intended to stabilize the site and remove any hazards it may pose to human health and the environment.
Gulf States Steel filed for bankruptcy in 1999, which led to a site assessment and site evaluation in 2007. EPA determined, as a result of the investigations, that a time-critical removal action is necessary.
Gulf States Steel operated in an industrial park in Gadsden, Ala., beginning on February 1, 1986. Prior to Gulf States’ startup in 1986, the facility was owned and operated by a series of other entities since its construction in 1902.
The fully integrated Gulf States Steel manufactured a diversified product line including steel plates, hot and cold rolled steel sheets, and galvanized steel sheets. Major processes at the facility included a coke and by-product plant, blast furnace area, and a basic oxygen plant. There are four waste oil lagoons at the facility—unlined surface impoundments that were apparently used to reclaim waste oil from wastewaters generated in the steel finishing processes.
Gulf States Steel was listed in the CERCLIS database with a discovery date of August 1, 1980; however, the site is currently not on the NPL. The company entered the RCRA program as a treatment, storage, and disposal facility (TSDF) on September 25, 1990, at which time it was listed as a large-quantity RCRA generator. On September 27, 1994, Gulf States entered into a Consent Decree with the USEPA. Sampling results of sediments in Black Creek led to the initiation of RI/FS activities with the Superfund Remedial Branch.
Gulf States filed a voluntary petition for bankruptcy under Chapter 11 on July 1, 1999. After a lengthy attempt to reorganize and emerge from bankruptcy, the Chapter 11 reorganization bankruptcy was converted to a Chapter 7 liquidation bankruptcy (November 14, 2000). As part of that liquidation, the United States was able to recoup approximately $2 million, which has been placed into a special account to be used to conduct and/or finance response actions at the Site. By Order dated December 5, 2006, the U.S. Bankruptcy Court closed the GSS bankruptcy. Funds received through the bankruptcy settlement have been tentatively allocated to address the ecological impacts emanating from the sediments in the 4 waste water lagoons
The EPA conducted a Site Assessment on January 22, 2007, at which time several items were observed including bulging drums, leaking aboveground storage tanks containing listed hazardous wastes, and oil spills. On February 21, 2007, a Removal Site Evaluation was conducted at the site. Based on analytical results from waste stream samples and field observations, the site was determined to pose an immediate hazard to human health and the environment. Eight specific tasks are identified as warranting time-critical removal action.