RAVENSWOOD, W.Va. -- The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced today that it had reached an agreement on plans for preventing releases of cyanide into the soil and groundwater at a waste pile at Century Aluminum's aluminum smelting site in Jackson County.
EPA said it had signed the agreement with TRC Companies Inc., TRC Environmental Corp., and Ravenswood Holdings Company LLC outlining work to be done at the 2.7-acre TRC Spent Cathode Storage Pile.
The pile is an encapsulated deposit of aluminum smelting wastes that is complete surrounded by the Century's active aluminum smelting facility, according to EPA. It consists of about 50,000 cubic yards of waste material, is surrounded by two other parcels, and is enclosed by a chain-link fence.
Aluminum smelting waste, contained in a spent potliner pile, accumulated between 1972 and 1980, and was awaiting shipment for mineral recycling. The recycling of this type of waste material subsided in the late 70's, thus necessitating the need to cover it. The entire waste pile was covered with a polymeric liner in 1981 to prevent contact with storm water, which could leach cyanide compounds in the waste pile into the ground water.
The site was formerly owned by Kaiser Aluminum, which divested itself of the site as part of bankruptcy proceedings in 2004. At that time, TRC Environmental Corporation took ownership of the spent potliner pile.
In November 2011, EPA determined that the waste material should remain in place and that repair and maintenance of the existing rubber membrane liner should continue until the liner is replaced. The final decision and the consent order require TRC to perform maintenance and comply with required controls to prevent further contamination.
TRC has agreed to repair and maintain the rubber membrane liner to prevent the escape of cyanide from the site. For more information about the site, go to: http://www.epa.gov/reg3wcmd/ca/wv/webpages/wvd988766127.html#contaminants.