The Former Kerr-McGee Site in Columbus
The former Kerr-McGee Site was contaminated by decades of wood treating operations. The Site was added to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s National Priorities List of federal Superfund sites in 2011. The National Priorities List (NPL) is a list of the worst hazardous waste sites identified by Superfund.
The Site’s Superfund designation means the cleanup must follow the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA) process that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) uses to clean up Superfund sites. Read about CERCLA, which is known as Superfund.
The Multistate Trust is performing investigations and cleanup under EPA oversight and in consultation with the Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality.
Overview of Cleanup Work
Milestones Achieved to Date
Since assuming responsibility for the former Kerr-McGee Site in 2011, the Multistate Trust has completed the following Environmental Actions and investigations under the oversight of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and in consultation with the Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality (MDEQ):
Removal of creosote and restoration of 1,000 feet of the City of Columbus stormwater ditch along 14th Avenue North. Learn more here.
Removal and replacement of a residential yard north of the Site
Ongoing operation of the on-site groundwater recovery and treatment system
Post-closure care of the closed hazardous waste impoundment
Completion of Remedial Investigations (PDF coming soon) to characterize the nature and extent of contamination in areas on and around the Site
Completion of the Human Health Risk Assessment (PDF coming soon)
Completion of a Baseline Ecological Risk Assessment (PDF coming soon)
Completion of a Focused Feasibility Study for Operable Unit 1 (OU-1) (Pine Yard soils). Read here.
Issuance of the EPA Record of Decision for Operable Unit 1 (Pine Yard soils). Read here.
Current Activities and Work
In mid-2018, soil removal activities got underway at the Pine Yard area of the Site. The Multistate Trust construction team is excavating creosote and contaminated soil from a portion of the 44-acre Pine Yard. Please read:
our flyer about our 24-hour hotline for reporting odors and other concerns
Pine Yard: As part of a future phase of work, additional actions will be taken to address a limited area of deeper creosote contamination in the Pine Yard. This work is anticipated to be done in 2019.
City of Columbus Storm Drainage Ditches: Actions to remove creosote and contaminated soils from stormwater drainage ditches around the Site will continue in 2019. This work will address sections of the ditch between 14th Avenue North, the railroad tracks and Waterworks Road.
Former Main Plant Site: Evaluations continued through 2018 to determine the actions that will be taken on the 45-acre former Main Plant Site.
We are committed to making environmental documents available once they are approved by EPA and MDEQ.
Approved documents are available in the document repository at the Columbus-Lowndes Public Library, 314 7th Street North, in the Historical Room, and at the Site’s Community Resource Building at 2300 14th Avenue North.
Environmental and other technical documents that have been reviewed and approved by our federal and state governmental beneficiaries are as follows.
Our Beneficiaries and regulatory agencies
The beneficiaries of the Multistate Trust are the federal government and the government of the state where each site is located. In Columbus, the beneficiaries are represented by EPA and MDEQ.
EPA is also the lead regulatory agency for the Site, and MDEQ is the designated non-lead agency. In its role as lead agency, EPA approves site-specific cleanup plans and activities and the hiring of contractors to perform environmental activities at the Site.
In its role as beneficiary and in consultation with MDEQ, EPA approves the Multistate Trust’s annual environmental budgets. As beneficiaries, EPA and MDEQ will also make final decisions about the sale, transfer, or disposition of all or any portion of the Site.
Our Commitment to Community Stakeholders
The Multistate Trust and its beneficiaries recognize that the City of Columbus, and particularly the residents near the former Kerr-McGee Site, have been and continue to be most affected by the Site, its cleanup and revitalization.
The Multistate Trust team remains dedicated to protecting and engaging our community and neighbors as we clean up the Site and plan for its safe, beneficial reuse for future generations. In collaboration with EPA and MDEQ, the Multistate Trust strives to keep the community and other stakeholders informed and involved in our work.
Columbus: An Environmental Justice Site
Environmental justice (EJ) is the fair treatment and meaningful involvement of all—no matter their race, color, national origin, or income—in the implementation and enforcement of environmental laws and policies.
In Columbus, the Multistate Trust is committed to investing in this EJ community and including the community in the cleanup when possible. To date, the Multistate Trust has trained and hired local, small, minority businesses and individuals, providing skills, certifications, and experience that can help lead to future work in the environmental sector.
94 local residents and 10 local contractors have been hired for the ongoing Pine Yard soil removal project, 2018
20 local residents and 6 local contractors were hired for the 7th Avenue North ditch improvement project, 2016-2017
The Multistate Trust’s training and hiring model has been described as a pioneering example that could be followed at EJ sites across the United States.
In Columbus, the Multistate Trust has engaged a local, minority-owned business—J5 GBL LLC as a key member of our team. J5 GBL operates the on-site groundwater treatment plant, conducts sampling, and leads our community outreach. J5 GBL was the general contractor for the 7th Avenue North Ditch Improvement Project and for the Pine Yard Removal Action. J5 GBL shares the Multistate Trust’s commitment to including the community in our cleanup, and has hired and trained numerous residents of Columbus.
J5 GBL CEO Jabari O. Edwards was recently appointed to the National Environmental Justice Advisory Council, which provides independent advice and recommendations on Environmental Justice issues to the EPA administrator.