OXFORD, CALHOUN COUNTY, ALABAMA
The United States Environmental Protection Agency, Region IV, has requested that the Alabama Department of Public Health (ADPH) review the environmental data from the Hager Hinge site in Oxford, Calhoun County, Alabama to determine if past levels of contamination in soil and groundwater represent a public health concern.
Hager Hinge is an active site located at 100 West Hamric Drive (U.S. Highway 78) in Oxford, Alabama. The site consists of approximately 31 acres. Hager Hinge has manufactured hinges, angle supports, screws, and other small metal articles at this site since 1978. Facility operations are conducted in a 150,000 square foot building built in 1952 by the previous occupants, General Electric .
The Hager Hinge site is located in a predominately light industrial/commercial area. The site is bounded to the west by Southern Tool, to the east by a local church, to the north by U.S. Highway 78, and to the south by vacant wooded land owned by the facility . The nearest residence is located approximately 1/8 mile upgradient of the site . Groundwater in the vicinity of the site flows south to southwest (although the shallow aquifer may fluctuate seasonally).
A municipal water supply well (Coldwater Well) is located 3 miles west of the site and supplies the drinking water for all single family residents in the area of the site and on-site workers. One abandoned private well is located 1/4 mile south of the site at the Don Lee Trailer Park. The private well was closed in 1995. Residents of the park currently receive water from the Coldwater municipal water supply system [1,3].
Prior to approximately 1990, Hager Hinge used a large parts washer (vapor degreaser) that utilized trichloroethylene (TCE) to clean equipment. General Electric may have used TCE in their operations and may have stored it on-site in above ground and below ground storage tanks . In 1993, an environmental survey of the property detected TCE in on-site soil and groundwater. Consequently, on-site sampling was conducted which detected TCE in subsurface soil (4-60' deep) at concentrations ranging from below detection limits (BDL) to 594 parts per million (ppm). Groundwater sampling indicated levels of TCE at a maximum concentration of 436,000 parts per billion (ppb). Along with TCE contamination, sampling from one groundwater monitoring well detected benzene at 2070 ppb .
Thirteen groundwater monitoring wells are currently located on-site. Quarterly groundwater monitoring results from February 1994 to December 1997, detected TCE and benzene at maximum levels above ATSDR health comparison guidelines. TCE was detected at concentrations ranging from non-detect (ND) to 259,000 ppb. Benzene was detected at a maximum concentration of 1465 ppb. Quarterly groundwater monitoring will continue until contaminant concentrations meet the clean-up levels established by the Alabama Department of Environmental Management (ADEM).
Sampling of the Coldwater Well and the abandoned private well detected concentrations of TCE above levels of health comparison guidelines, however these concentrations did not exceed EPA's Maximum Contaminant Levels (MCL). MCL's are the maximum permissable levels of a contaminant in drinking water. Quarterly monitoring reports for Coldwater Well from December 1988 to March 1997, indicate that TCE was detected at a maximum concentration of 3 ppb . Prior to its closure, groundwater samples taken at the private well from 1989 to 1994, detected TCE at a maximum concentration of 5 ppb . Coldwater Well continues to be sampled on a routine quarterly basis as are all municipal public water supply wells.
In November 1995, ADEM issued a directive to Hager Hinge to address TCE contamination in subsurface soil and groundwater at the site. In May 1996, Hager Hinge selected a Multi-Phase Vacuum Extraction (MPVE) treatment system for site remediation of subsurface soil and groundwater. In January 1997, the MPVE was fully installed and began operations. Since remediation efforts began, no soil sampling has been conducted. Groundwater sampling, after installation of the MVTE system, indicates TCE concentrations ranging from non-detect to 116,000 ppb at the site [4,5].
On October 10, 1997, Mr. Ben Moore of the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR), and Dr. Brian Hughes and Ms. Yvonne Barnett of the ADPH conducted a site visit at Hager Hinge. The site appeared well maintained. Most of the site was surrounded by a chain link fence. The vapor extraction unit and the groundwater monitoring wells were observed and were in working order. The contaminated subsurface soils had not been disturbed. No community complaints have been made regarding the site .