Anniston PCB Cleanup Resumes

Anniston, AL, August 4--USA - Dirt around a vacant, yellow house on the corner of 11th Street and McDaniel Avenue in western Anniston was dug up and moved out Monday, marking the beginning of PCBs cleanup that will affect hundreds of residences over the next year or two, according to the Anniston Star. Under the Consent Decree, Monsanto, Solutia and Pharmacia were ordered to conduct the cleanup, which will clear yards with more than 1 part per million PCBs. More than 150 residential properties have been identified for cleanup of the more than 2,000 samples that have been collected. Additional samples are still needed to identify the full scope of the residential cleanup. During the coming weeks, ENTACT, the cleanup contractor, will tackle area 1, which includes about 20 properties across three blocks between 11th and 12th streets and Brown and McDaniel avenues. Cleanup will continue southward along the Snow Creek flood plain to Oxford. The effort will then come back to Anniston and widen to other contaminated areas. The effort is expected to take at least a year. Craig Branchfield, Solutia remedial projects manager, called it a "very positive and exciting day for this area." No resident or property owner was watching because the house at 1105 McDaniel Ave. is vacant. By 1:30 p.m., a layer of grass and dirt had been removed from the front and side of the house, and the large back yard. Branchfield was impressed with the progress of the property's cleanup thus far. It takes about a week to clear a property and fill it in with clean dirt, but he expected the work to take two or three days. ENTACT started with one property, but plans to clean 20 properties per month and eventually work on several at a time. Branchfield said a work plan is created for each residence and homeowners are asked whether they want their landscapes removed or cleaned around. When the landscape stays, contractors clean as close as they can. With crawl spaces underneath a home, Branchfield said contractors clean what is accessible. Tiffany Messier, a contractor for the Environmental Protection Agency, walked around the house at 1105 McDaniel Ave. watching the work being done. She said she was there to make sure contractors properly remove dirt and look out for workers' health and safety. Pam Scully, PCB site coordinator with the EPA, stopped by to see how the new contractor was doing. "They had more people doing excavation than we have on previous property so I think it was going pretty fast," she said. Scully said there is always an EPA contractor at every residence Solutia cleans. A truck pulled onto a large white tarp to be loaded with PCB-contaminated dirt. The tarps, Branchfield explained, are to catch contaminated dirt. The dirt will be taken to the former Miller property across from the EPA's 10th Street office. Branchfield said contractors will cap the dirt as they go. Eventually, some beneficial reuse for the community will be developed over 25,000 cubic yards of dirt contaminated by PCBs. "The mere presence of PCBs doesn't mean the area can't be used," Branchfield said. A box on a thin metal pole in the back of the yard monitored dust in the air to ensure PCB particles were not becoming airborne in the cleanup process. If PCBs get in the air, it is attached to dust, Branchfield said. Each residential cleanup has a dust control plan, he said. Properties found to have greater than 10 parts per million PCBs have already been cleaned up.