IP cleanup passes EPA muster after 20 years of work

Published 12:00 am Saturday, June 28, 2008


FRANKLIN—After nearly 20 years of cleanup involving the removal of 43,000 tons of materials and costing in excess of $1 million, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced that the International Paper Franklin site has officially been declared clean of hazardous chemicals.

EPA’s issued its notice on June 9 that the work at the site resulted in a “significant reduction in risk to human health and the environment.”

The cleanup, completed on the 3,660-acre site, will continue to be monitored by International Paper under the supervision of the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality.

EPA’s final decision prohibits any residential use of the site; prohibits the use of groundwater from the upper level aquifer. It also requires International Paper to implement a water-monitoring program and conduct regular inspection and maintenance at the site, which has been covered with an impermeable cap.

International Paper, formerly known as Union Camp Corporation, has operated a paper mill on the site since 1937.

The company currently produces materials used for book covers, envelopes, office and forms paper.

The corrective action was undertaken pursuant to the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act. However, instead of issuing a corrective action permit requiring work to be done under a highly restrictive legally mandated structure, EPA invited International Paper to join and perform the clean-up under EPA’s Facility Lead Program (FLP).

This program invites businesses like International Paper, which meet certain standards of environmental citizenship, cooperation and technical ability to complete the required clean-up on a more self-directed track, while still under the supervision of EPA.

As part of the corrective action,

International Paper participated in surface and subsurface soil sampling, sediment and surface water sampling and groundwater sampling. Those samples were submitted for chemical analysis for all target compounds including, volatile organic compounds (VOCs), pesticides, polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), cyanide and metals.

Prior to, and following the samplings, International Paper completed work involving the removal of waste materials from several on-site solid waste management units, including the removal of 37,422 tons of lime mud and soil and 9,519 tons of tall oil and solids.

A hazardous waste storage building was “clean closed” with the approval of VADEQ.

Sediments were removed from the main mill sewer canal, and the high-ground landfill was covered with an impermeable cap.

In addition to membership in the FLP, International Paper’s facility is also a member of EPA voluntary programs such as Performance Track, and received in 2005 and 2007 the EPA National Environmental Performance Track Outreach Award, one of only five such winners nationally. The facility has also been named as one of 11 sites by VADEQ as an Extraordinary Environmental Enterprise Site and received the Virginia Governor’s Environmental Excellence Award in 2006 and 2007.