Cleanup activities are set to resume this month at the Marine Shale Processors site near Amelia, according to a Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality news release.
The cleanup will involve dismantling portions of the facility and disposing of all the waste contained in the tanks and equipment at offsite locations permitted to accept the waste. The facility closed in 1996, but Marine Shale Processors left behind incinerated waste residues, untreated wastes, on-site stockpiles of incinerated wastes and untreated waste, and fill material composed of incinerated waste material.
The initial removal of wastes began in 2007 and addressed only the tanks in critical condition and in danger of failure. The initial removal activities were completed in March 2008 and included treatment and off-site disposal of more than 2,300 tons of waste material, recycling of nearly 290 tons of steel from 13 storage tanks; and treatment and off-site disposal of more than 194,000 gallons of waste water.
The state of Louisiana and U.S. Department of Justice took civil action against Marine Shale Processors to recover response costs following the finding of incinerated waste materials and untreated wastes at the abandoned site in Amelia.
DEQ, the Department of Justice, the Environmental Protection Agency and the primary responsible parties entered into a cooperative agreement signed in 2009, which will conclude with the cleanup of the waste and equipment. The process could last up to 100 days, the release stated.
Three companies will be working on the cleanup at the Marine Shale facility. DEQ plans to keep local officials updated on the progress of the cleanup.
When the Marine Shale Processors site is free of waste the next phase of work will be done, the release stated. The next phase will involve testing the soil and groundwater to see what environmental impacts still remain from former site operations. The testing will be analyzed and will be used to conduct a risk assessment and to determine a final remedy and what other actions need to be taken to return the site to commercial use.
Following the closure of the facility in 1996, the U.S. Department of Justice released an expert report and found that the incinerated fill material had elevated levels of arsenic and lead, two small areas of groundwater contamination containing pentachlorophenol, arsenic lead and selenium, one of which is beneath the concrete pad where wood treatment waste was stored and unprocessed wastes contained elevated levels of lead, cadmium, semi-volatile organic compounds, pesticides, polynuclear, aromatic hydrocarbons and other metals.