Cleanup at Williston site progressing after years of planning

Randy Bryant explains progress in the cleanup process.

Randy Bryant explains progress in the cleanup process.

First Byline: 
Jonathan Vickery - Managing Editor

More than 100 truckloads of contaminated soil has been excavated from the former Imhoff wetland area in Williston, part of a multiphase cleanup process.
During a public meeting August 25 at Williston Town Hall, remedial project manager Randy Bryant said workers have been removing contaminated soil, which is then taken to a permitted landfill. The excavated area is then filled in with clean soil and replanted.
The work is related to prior operations at the site when it was Admiral Home Appliances and has nothing to do with the current business Crane. The contamination came from the Imhoff wastewater treatment system that was used at the site between 1966 and 1982. That system has since been replaced.
While there is no risk to humans, studies suggested that levels of metals (chromium, nickel and zinc) in the soil could be harmful to plants and insects, according to Bryant.
Bryant told the group of approximately 30 residents that the cleanup phase at the wetland area should be completed by November. This would only leave one of four main components of the process to be completed.
The final phase is cleaning up volatile organic compounds (VOCs) in the groundwater. The VOCs were caused by solvents used at a former paint shed on the site to clean paint equipment. Bryant said some of the solvents leaked or spilled on the ground and "migrated" down through the soil into the groundwater.
To clean up the VOCs, liquids will be added to the groundwater to help bacteria break down the VOCs. A pilot test should be completed by the end of the year. Based on those results they will do more injections of liquids next year in a bigger area, said Bryant, adding how they will continue periodic groundwater monitoring for years to make sure the VOCs are cleared up.
Two other components have already been completed, including extending the public water line to replace private wells at some homes northeast of the site. This was done after Mercury was detected in several wells, though investigations never linked the Mercury to the former site operations, said Bryant.
In 2012, crews cleaned up metals at a former equalization lagoon by digging and hauling away contaminated dirt. That site, which is now a parking lot, was refilled with clean dirt and paved.
Several people in attendance asked questions, including some residents who were concerned they lived close to the contaminated groundwater area. Bryant encouraged anyone with concerns to give him their address so he could check it against areas they've tested.
The cleanup process is being conducted by Admiral Home Appliances' corporate successors, Rheem Manufacturing Company and Whirlpool, though the EPA and S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control are overseeing the project.
Information about the cleanup process is available at the Williston Library, located at 205 Springfield Road in Williston.