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E-M:/ Heads up, Belding, MI....H & K radium contamination site delisting
- Subject: E-M:/ Heads up, Belding, MI....H & K radium contamination site delisting
- From: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Date: 30 Mar 1998 21:31:07 -0500
- List-Name: Enviro-Mich
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Enviro-Mich message from firstname.lastname@example.org
Delisting of a radium contamination site in Belding MI....
[Federal Register: March 30, 1998 (Volume 63, Number 60)]
>From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]
ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY
40 CFR Part 300
National Oil and Hazardous Substances Pollution Contingency Plan;
National Priorities List
AGENCY: Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
ACTION: Notice of intent to delete the H & K Sales Superfund site from
the national priorities list; request for comments.
SUMMARY: The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Region
V announces its intent to delete the H & K Sales Site from the National
Priorities List (NPL) and requests public comment on this action. The
NPL constitutes Appendix B of 40 CFR part 300 which is the National Oil
and Hazardous Substances Pollution Contingency Plan (NCP), which EPA
promulgated pursuant to section 105 of the Comprehensive Environmental
Response, Compensation, and Liability Act of 1980 (CERCLA) as amended.
This action is being taken by EPA, because it has been determined that
all Fund-financed responses under CERCLA have been implemented and EPA,
in consultation with the State of Michigan, has determined that no
further response is appropriate. Moreover, EPA and the State have
determined that remedial activities conducted at the Site to date have
been protective of public health, welfare, and the environment.
DATES: Comments concerning the proposed deletion of the Site from the
NPL may be submitted on or before April 29, 1998.
ADDRESSES: Comments may be mailed to Gladys Beard, Associate Remedial
Project Manager, Superfund Division, U.S. EPA, Region V, 77 W. Jackson
Blvd. (SR-6J), Chicago, IL 60604. Comprehensive information on the site
is available at U.S. EPA's Region V office and at the local information
repository located at: Alvah N. Belding Library, 302 East Main Street,
Belding, Michigan 48809. Requests for comprehensive copies of documents
should be directed formally to the Region V Docket Office. The address
and phone number for the Regional
Docket Officer is Jan Pfundheller (H-7J), U.S. EPA, Region V, 77 W.
Jackson Blvd., Chicago, IL 60604, (312) 353-5821.
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Kevin Adler, Remedial Project Manager
at (312) 886-7078 or Gladys Beard, Associate Remedial Project Manager,
Superfund Division (SR-6J), U.S. EPA, Region V, 77 W. Jackson Blvd.,
Chicago, IL 60604, (312) 886-7253 or Denise Gawlinski (P-19J), Office
of Public Affairs, U.S. EPA, Region V, 77 W. Jackson Blvd., Chicago, IL
60604, (312) 886-9859.
Table of Contents
II. NPL Deletion Criteria
III. Deletion Procedures
IV. Basis for Intended Site Deletion
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Region V announces its
intent to delete the H & K Sales Site from the National Priorities List
(NPL), which constitutes Appendix B of the National Oil and Hazardous
Substances Pollution Contingency Plan (NCP), and requests comments on
the proposed deletion. The EPA identifies sites that appear to present
a significant risk to public health, welfare or the environment, and
maintains the NPL as the list of those sites. Sites on the NPL may be
the subject of remedial actions financed by the Hazardous Substance
Superfund Response Trust Fund (Fund). Pursuant to section 300.425(e)(3)
of the NCP, any site deleted from the NPL remains eligible for Fund-
financed remedial actions if the conditions at the site warrant such
The EPA will accept comments on this proposal for thirty (30) days
after publication of this document in the Federal Register.
Section II of this document explains the criteria for deleting
sites from the NPL. Section III discusses procedures that EPA is using
for this action. Section IV discusses the history of this site and
explains how the site meets the deletion criteria.
Deletion of sites from the NPL does not itself create, alter, or
revoke any individual's rights or obligations. Furthermore, deletion
from the NPL does not in any way alter EPA's right to take enforcement
actions, as appropriate. The NPL is designed primarily for
informational purposes and to assist in Agency management.
II. NPL Deletion Criteria
The NCP establishes the criteria the Agency uses to delete sites
from the NPL. In accordance with 40 CFR 300.425(e), sites may be
deleted from the NPL where no further response is appropriate. In
making this determination, EPA will consider, in consultation with the
State, whether any of the following criteria have been met:
(i) Responsible parties or other persons have implemented all
appropriate response actions required; or
(ii) All appropriate non-time Critical Removal Actions or Fund-
financed responses under CERCLA have been implemented, and no further
response action by responsible parties is appropriate; or
(iii) The Remedial Investigation has shown that the release poses
no significant threat to public health or the environment and,
therefore, remedial measures are not appropriate.
III. Deletion Procedures
Upon determination that at least one of the criteria described in
300.425(e) has been met, EPA may formally begin deletion procedures
once the State has concurred. This Federal Register document, and a
concurrent notice in the local newspaper in the vicinity of the site,
announce the initiation of a 30-day comment period. The public is asked
to comment on EPA's intention to delete the Site from the NPL. All
critical documents needed to evaluate EPA's decision are included in
the information repository and the deletion docket.
Upon completion of the public comment period, if necessary, the EPA
Regional Office will prepare a Responsiveness Summary to evaluate and
address comments that were received. The public is welcome to contact
the EPA Region V Office to obtain a copy of this responsiveness
summary, if one is prepared. If EPA then determines the deletion from
the NPL is appropriate, final notice of deletion will be published in
the Federal Register.
IV. Basis for Intended Site Deletion
The H & K Sales site is located at 100 East Main Street in Belding,
Michigan. The site is the portion of the Belding Warehouse facility in
which World War II (WWII) era military-surplus aircraft components had
been stored since 1994. Some of the aircraft components are marked with
paint containing radium-226, which is a naturally occurring, but
hazardous, radioactive material.
The Belding Warehouse facility is located on several acres of land
in a commercial section of town. The property is bounded by the Flat
River on the north, Bridge Street on the west, and adjacent industrial
buildings on the east and south. Several schools, a hospital, and many
residences are located within a one-mile radius of the site, almost
6000 people live within this area.
The Belding Warehouse facility is privately owned and consists of
two main buildings. The site is a single-story building consisting of
three large rooms, each approximately 10,000 square feet in area. This
building has a concrete floor and foundation, brick and block walls,
and a metal roof. Two of the three rooms were packed with crates of the
WWII surplus material; the third room was empty. Evidence of cracks in
the concrete floor, leaks in the roof, and floor drains with an
uncertain discharge location pointed towards the potential for release
of radium-226 into the environment. The building is attached to a
separate, three-story building that was not used for storage of the
surplus material and thus was not contaminated.
In the late 1940s, Aircraft Components, Inc., of Benton Harbor,
Michigan, purchased the radium-paint aircraft components as military
surplus for resale. Aircraft Components stored the surplus material in
several Benton Harbor locations, including in its main warehouse
building which is now also a Superfund cleanup site. After the owners
of the company died in the early 1990s the main warehouse building in
Benton Harbor was sold along with its contents. The new owners of the
Benton Harbor warehouse sold some of the surplus material to a salvage
facility in Arkansas whose radiation alarm was tripped during a
delivery of the material. The facility notified the Arkansas Department
of Health, which traced the shipment to Michigan and then notified the
Michigan Department of Public Health's Division of Radiological
Protection. The Division of Radiological Protection is now called the
Drinking Water and Radiological Protection Division and is a part of
the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (MDEQ).
MDEQ staff determined that the origin of the material was the
Aircraft Components Inc., warehouse in Benton Harbor. The MDEQ
interviewed the new owners of the warehouse and determined that a large
portion of their inventory had been sold to another Michigan firm (H &
K Sales) and moved to Belding, Michigan. The MDEQ investigated the
Belding Warehouse facility in late September 1994 and estimated that
thousands of radium-painted gauges and other aircraft components were
packed in wooden crates inside part of the warehouse facility. Using
radiation detection equipment, the MDEQ measured
ambient gamma ray dose rate readings within the building at more than
700 times the level that naturally occurs in Michigan. In October 1994,
the EPA and the MDEQ conducted a radiological survey at the site and
confirmed the MDEQ's initial findings.
In June 1995, the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry
issued a public health advisory and recommended that the site be
addressed by the EPA without delay. ATSDR was concerned that a fire at
the warehouse could result in the widespread dispersal of radium into
the environment by the smoke plume and by water runoff into the
adjacent Flat River. In September 1995, the site was nominated for
inclusion on the EPA's National Priorities List (NPL), which made it
eligible for study and cleanup under the Superfund law. The site was
added to the NPL in July 1996.
In October 1995, the EPA met with officials from the U. S. Air
Force in Washington, D.C. and requested that they undertake the cleanup
of the radium-226-painted materials. The EPA considers the Air Force,
which originally sold the radium-painted gauges and other materials to
Aircraft Components, to be a potentially responsible party as defined
by the Superfund Law. The Air Force declined to participate in a
cleanup at that time, citing budgetary and logistical reasons.
In February 1996, the EPA, with assistance from the MDEQ, conducted
a detailed inspection of the site and prepared a document called an
Engineering Evaluation/Cost Analysis (EE/CA). An EE/CA is a type of
study that the EPA uses to evaluate removal program cleanup
alternatives and to request Superfund money for cleanup of sites that
pose immediate threats to public health and the environment. A site
risk evaluation performed as part of the EE/CA by the U.S. EPA
concluded that people working in the warehouse buildings could be
exposed to harmful levels of radiation from radium and/or radon gas,
which is generated by the radioactive decay of radium. EPA and MDEQ
shared ATSDR's concern that radium could be released to the environment
should there be a fire, or as the result of other events such as
vandalism or theft.
The EPA began the planning stage of the cleanup in September 1996.
At that time, the EPA contracted with another federal agency, the U.S.
Department of the Interior's Bureau of Reclamation (USBR), to manage
the cleanup. Onsite cleanup work began in January 1997 and included the
<bullet> The building was secured to prevent release of radiation
to the environment during the handling of the radium-painted materials
and to prevent entrance to the clean-up areas by untrained persons;
<bullet> A detailed, base-line radiation survey using radiation-
detection devices was performed in the buildings: (1) To determine
where ``hotspots'' existed to alert site clean-up workers and prevent
exposure to high doses of radiation during the cleanup; and (2) to more
accurately predict where radium-painted items were stored (before the
large number of storage crates were opened for sorting);
<bullet> Radium-painted materials were segregated and packed into
proper containers for shipment to a disposal facility in the state of
Washington. Two shipments, each containing an average of 85 containers
of radium painted materials, were sent off-site for disposal. Each
container held between 200 and 300 radium-painted components, which
means more than 34,000 radium-painted aircraft components were
transported off-site for disposal;
<bullet> A waste shredder was set up in the building to process
packaging materials and other non-hazardous items for disposal in a
local landfill. These materials were tested to ensure that they did not
exceed the federal or state criterion for disposal of radioactive items
in municipal landfills. Approximately 56 loads of material were sent to
the local landfill; each load contained about 540 cubic feet (averaging
about 4.5 tons) of shredded wastes, for a total of 30,240 cubic feet
(252 tons). Using the local landfill was a safe and cost-effective
alternative to sending the non-hazardous wastes to a disposal facility
<bullet> Approximately 1,000 cubic feet of material was packaged
and shipped to a low-level radioactive waste disposal facility in Utah.
This material was not painted with radium-226, but had enough radium-
226 dust in it to exceed the federal criterion for disposal in the
<bullet> More than 4,500 cubic feet of aircraft components and
other materials were subjected to radiation surveys, cleaned if
necessary, and then released back to the original owners (H&K Sales,
Inc.) for unrestricted use, including resale to collectors, etc. Items
such as airplane propellers, nuts and bolts, and certain pieces of
heavy machinery were reclaimed by the owners, saving the U.S. EPA
substantial sums in disposal costs; and
<bullet> Smaller amounts of other hazardous items, including
radium-226-painted components containing such materials as mercury and
diesel fuel,were properly packaged and shipped off-site for disposal.
For example, the mercury-containing components were shipped to a
processing facility in Texas where the mercury will be reclaimed for
re-use. The radium 226-painted components will then be sent to the
disposal facility in the state of Washington.
EPA has determined that no further remedial action needs to take
place at the site for the following reasons:
<bullet> The site no longer contains radium-226 above standards or
above naturally-occurring levels.
<bullet> The warehouse buildings have been emptied of the radium-
painted materials, thus the risk of release of radium-226 to the
environment (air, ground water, surface water, or soil) ended.
<bullet> There are several floor drains in Rooms 1 and 2 however,
these drains had been plugged prior to the placement of the radium-
painted materials at the site and thus were not a potential conduit for
radium-226 to be released to the environment. During the final
radiation survey, the drains were found not to have radium-226-
contamination in them.
<bullet> Radiation survey data from certain areas outside of the
site building ensured that no radium was tracked off-site by site
cleanup workers and that no radium had been released to the environment
in the short time that the materials had been stored at the warehouse.
<bullet> Radon gas levels are at a level below the acceptable
criteria of 4 pCi/L inside the buildings.
All risks to human health and the environment posed by the site have
EPA, with concurrence from the State of Michigan, has determined
that all appropriate Fund-financed responses under CERCLA at the H & K
Sales Superfund Site have been completed, and no further CERCLA
response is appropriate in order to provide protection of human health
and the environment. Therefore, EPA proposes to delete the site from
Dated: March 13, 1998.
Acting Regional Administrator, Region V.
[FR Doc. 98-7932 Filed 3-27-98; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 6560-50-P
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