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Tuesday, October 15, 2013

ADEQ meeting in Fort Smith

The Arkansas Department of Environmental Quality (ADEQ) will hold a meeting and public hearing in Fort Smith on Nov. 12, 2013 to provide an overview of the remedy being considered for the site and receive public input on a Remedial Action Decision Document (RADD) that outlines remediation plans for soil and groundwater contamination in and near the Whirlpool facility.

The meeting will be held at 6 p.m. at the Fort Smith Senior Activity Center, 2700 Cavanaugh Road. ADEQ staff will be on hand to provide an overview of the proposed remedies outlined in the RADD. A formal hearing will also be held to receive oral comments for the record.

The Whirlpool facility is at 6400 Jenny Lind Road, Fort Smith. The facility is approximately 153 acres and includes the main manufacturing building, adjoining warehouse and administrative offices, and approximately 21 acres of undeveloped land. Refrigerators were manufactured on the site before it closed in 2012. The manufacturing process included polyurethane foaming, metal fabrication, plastic thermoforming and assembly operations.

It is believed that constituents in the soil and groundwater identified in the facility investigation were the result of practices that took place prior to 1980. Before 1967, the facility used trichloroethylene (TCE) in the former degreaser building located near the northeastern corner of the main building. The use of TCE was discontinued in the mid-1980s. There are no records of spills or other releases from the degreaser building.

The Remedial Action Decision Document (RADD) describes remedies considered for the site along with ADEQ’s recommendation for the remedial actions to be implemented at the facility. The Department will ultimately choose which remedial actions will be used at the site.

Several remedies are proposed in the RADD. The document calls for covering the impacted soil on-site with asphalt and an impermeable coating. Any cover would be designed to prevent water from seeping through the contaminated soil. In addition, soil gas monitoring is recommended to ensure there is no vapor intrusion into indoor air.

The proposal also recommends treatment of on-site and off-site groundwater with a chemicaloxidant. Monitored Natural Attenuation will be conducted for the on-site and off-site plume, under the plan.
A copy of the RADD can be found online under the Hot Topics section on ADEQ’s homepage The document, along with those used to develop it, can also be viewed during normal business hours at the Arkansas Department of Environmental Quality, Public Outreach and Assistance Division, 5301 Northshore Drive, North Little Rock or at the Fort Smith Public Library, 3201 Rogers Ave., Fort Smith.

Oral and written comments on the proposed RADD will be accepted at the hearing, but written comments are preferred in the interest of accuracy. In addition, written comments will be accepted if received no later than 4:30 p.m. CST Nov. 18, 2013. Written comments should be sent to Tammie Hynum, Hazardous Waste Division Chief, Arkansas Department of Environmental Quality, 5301 Northshore Drive, North Little Rock, AR 72118-5317.

After reviewing the comments, ADEQ will make any necessary revisions to the RADD and it will become final.

Whirlpool will be required to begin remediation of the TCE plume within 60 days of the RADD’s effective date. The company will also be required to submit quarterly and annual reports. A technical review of the remedial activities would be conducted two years from the effective date of the RADD and a decision will be made to continue or modify the selected remedy.

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