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Universal Aluminum

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Universal Aluminum Extrusion Corporation

Andrew Lindsay and Matthew Staunton

ENVL 4446 – Pollution Remediation and Biotechnology

Richard Stockton College of New Jersey

Dr. Tait Chirenje

28 April 2014

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Table of Contents

Summary

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Site Location

 

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Site Description

 

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Evaporation Tank

 

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Underground Vault

 

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Contaminants: Threats and Nature Chromium Compounds

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Chromium (VI)

 

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Chromium (III)

 

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VOCs

 

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Xylenes

 

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Ethylbenzene Remedial Progress Further Actions

 

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Remedial Goal

 

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Recommendations

 

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Alternatives

 

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References

 

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Appendix A

 

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Appendix B

 

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Summary

Two areas are of concern at the Universal Aluminum Extrusion Corporation RCRA site:

the chromium (hexavalent and total) contaminated evaporation tank area and underground vault area contaminated with VOCs. The contaminated surface soil has been removed for both areas and has been replaced with clean backfill. Currently, the subsurface soil and groundwater of both areas remain contaminated. For the evaporation tank area, In-situ chemical reduction using calcium polysulfide will be a good and reliable technique that will reduce toxic chromium to the stable and much less toxic chromium (III). For the underground vault area, soil vapor extraction (SVE) along with air sparging has been used in the past for the soil and groundwater, but post- sampling results showed that VOCs have remained above NJDEP quality standards in the groundwater. While a redesign of the SVE and air sparging system is a good alternative; a more reliable solution for remediating VOCs is in-situ chemical oxidation with Fenton’s reagent, which will work quickly and be effective in remediating VOCs in the ground.

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Site Location

Universal Aluminum Extrusion Corporation 5 Canale Drive Egg Harbor Township, New Jersey

Aluminum 4 Site Location Universal Aluminum Extrusion Corporation 5 Canale Drive Egg Harbor Township, New Jersey

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Site Description

The Universal Aluminum Extrusion Corporation is a known contaminated site under the Resource Conservation Recovery Act (RCRA) and is located in Egg Harbor Township, New Jersey. The contaminants of concern at this site are chromium and VOCs, which have been found in parts of the subsurface and groundwater. There is a local body of water (Ingersollis Branch) that’s located .4 miles northeast of the facility; fortunately, it is not expected to be impacted because the groundwater on site flows southeasterly. The soil on site is also highly permeable due to its highly sandy composition. (Environmental Indicator Status).

Universal Aluminum was owned by the Hewit-McKelvey Partnership in 1978 where they operated an aluminum extrusion facility. The area consists of 10 acres but the facilities are only located on approximately 5 of the acres; the 5 acres forest. This aluminum extrusion facility was producing aluminum billets, which were sold to companies to manufacture various residential products. To create the billets, the aluminum would be heated under pressure and treated with various dyes. The final products were then coated with chromium. Other chemicals that were used in the dying and coating process include xylene, paints, oils, caustic solutions, and methylene chloride. Subsequently, operations at the facility ended in 1988 (Universal Aluminum). Currently, the Universal Aluminum site is not occupied, but for the land to be reused or redeveloped, remediation of contaminants is necessary.

Specifically, there are two areas of concern: the former evaporation tank area and the former concrete vault. Both areas have contaminated soils and groundwater that are above New Jersey’s Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) standards (Universal Aluminum).

Evaporation Tank

The first area of concern is known as the evaporation tank. The tank, which has already been removed from the site, was used as a rinse water system for the chromium coating procedure. Reportedly, the evaporation tank had chromium liquid waste which was leaking and contaminating the surrounding area. There was also a spill area, located right next to the tank, from the evaporation tank where additional chromium waste was being dumped (from the tank). The contaminant of concern for this area is chromium and it is found in both the sub-surface soil and the groundwater. Originally, the surface soil was contaminated, but progress in removing contaminated surface soil has been made (Environmental Indicator Status).

For an image of the evaporation tank area, see figure 1 in appendix.

Underground Vault

The second area of concern is an underground concrete vault. The vault was shaped as a cone-like cylinder with a depth of approximately six feet and a diameter of eight feet at the bottom with an opening diameter of two feet. The concrete vault was being used to store liquid and sludge waste. The waste contained a number of pollutants such as petroleum hydrocarbons, VOCs, and polychlorobiphenyls (PCBs). Soils near the vault were found to be contaminated with VOCs, primarily xylenes and ethylbenzene. Further sampling showed that the contamination exists in a 20-40ft radius around the concrete vault. There has been progress cleaning the area; however, the subsurface and groundwater remain contaminated (Environmental Indicator Status).

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For an image of the underground vault area, see figure 2 in appendix.

Contaminants: Threats and Nature

Chromium Compounds

The soil around the evaporation tank area along with groundwater is contaminated with chromium (total and hexavalent). Chromium occurs primarily in two states in the environment:

trivalent chromium (Cr III), which is the most stable state, and hexavalent chromium (Cr VI), the second most stable state (Chromium Compounds). With current conditions, there is low risk of exposure due to the fact that the surface soil is not contaminated, and that no human receptors such as workers, residents, trespassers, etc. have been on site (Environmental Indicator Status).

Hexavalent Chromium (Cr VI)

EPA has classified chromium (VI) as a Group A, known human carcinogen via exposure through inhalation, resulting in an increased risk of lung cancer. Acute inhalation of high levels of chromium VI mainly leads to respiratory problems such as shortness of breath, coughing, and wheezing. Acute inhalation can cause gastrointestinal and neurological effects. The gastrointestinal effects, which include abdominal pain, vomiting, and hemorrhage, can also be brought on through ingestion too. Skin burns are also caused by acute dermal exposure of chromium VI (Chromium Compounds).

Chronic inhalation of chromium (VI) results in negative effects on the respiratory tract such as ulcerations of the septum, bronchitis, decrease pulmonary function, pneumonia, and asthma. Inhalation may also produce effects on the liver, kidney, gastrointestinal and immune systems. Dermal exposure may cause contact dermatitis, sensitivity and ulceration of the skin (Chromium Compounds).

Trivalent Chromium (Cr III)

Chromium (III) is much less toxic then chromium (VI). Chromium (III) is listed as a group D, not classifiable as to its carcinogenicity. This form is essential for humans, and a daily intake of 50 to 200 µg/d is recommended (Chromium Compounds).

VOCs (Volatile Organic Compounds)

The soil and groundwater around the underground vault area is contaminated with volatile organic compounds or VOCs. Two of the main VOCs of concern are xylenes and ethylbenzene. There is low risk for exposure to VOCs due the fact that the surface soil is not currently contaminated, and that no human receptors such as workers, residents, trespassers, etc. have been on site (Environmental Indicator Status).

Xylenes

EPA classifies xylenes as a Group D carcinogen, not classifiable to humans. However, xylene does have other negative health affects to humans. Acute effects from xylene can come from inhalation and dermal exposure. If humans are exposed through

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inhalation they are subject to irritation of the nose and throat, nausea, vomiting, stomach discomfort, and neurological effects such as impaired reaction times and body balance. Dermal exposure with xylenes can affect humans by subjecting them to brief skin irritation and dryness (Xylenes).

Chronic effects from xylene come from inhalation exposure. Xylene mainly affects the nervous system, which causes headaches, dizziness, fatigue, tremors, incoordination, anxiety, impaired short-term memory, and concentration problems. Other chronic affects include breathing difficulties, lung problems, heart problems, and chest pain (Xylenes ).

Ethylbenzene

EPA has classified ethylbenzene as a Group D carcinogen to humans. It can still be dangerous to humans if inhaled. Acute effects are usually related to the respiratory system and nervous system. Effects on the respiratory system include throat irritation, chest tightness, and eye irritation. The main effect on the nervous system is dizziness. Chronic effects due to ethylbenzene inhalation are not well known (Ethylbenzene).

Remedial Progress

For the evaporation tank area, the tank itself along with surrounding contaminated surface (top 2 feet) soil was removed and sent offsite in 1985. The area was then backfilled with clean soil (Environmental Indicator Status).

For the concrete vault area, the contaminated water contained inside the vault was first sent offsite in 1995. The contaminated surface soil along with the vault itself was then excavated and sent off-site. In 1996, a soil vapor exaction system along with air sparging wells was used for approximately 8 months in this area. The SVE system was effective in removing VOCs in soils but high levels of VOCs remained in the groundwater (Environmental Indicator Status).

Further Actions

Remedial Goal

For evaporation tank area contaminated with chromium (total and hexavalent), the remedial goal is to either reduce chromium to the much less toxic chromium (III) or remove the chromium entirely. With removal, total levels of Chromium should meet the NJDEP Class II A ground water quality standards of 70 µg/l.

For concrete vault area contaminated with total volatile organic compounds (TVOCs), the goal is to either remove or destroy entirely. Levels of the VOCs should meet the NJDEP Class II A ground water quality standards of 500 ppb.

Recommendation

Evaporation Tank: Chromium (VI) is a strong oxidant, so it can react with many reductants to produce the much less toxic and stable chromium (III). Therefore, in-situ chemical

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reduction is a good approach to clean the evaporation tank area. A reducing agent such as zero- valent iron or calcium polysulfide is injected into the chromium contaminated subsurface to reduce total chromium to chromium (III). In the vadose (unsaturated) zone, it can be difficult to maintain contact between the reductant and targeted chromium, so faster reactions generally work better for chromium reduction. Calcium polysulfide is considered the cheapest and fastest reductant for treatment of chromium in the vadose zone, so calcium polysulfide would be the primary oxidant used (Chang).

There are alternative treatment methods that could be used for the evaporation tank area, which include bioremediation of chromate and also pump and treat. These methods are listed below in the alternatives section (See page 8).

When compared to biological reduction of chromium, “chemical reduction is simpler, faster, and more reliable (Chang).” In-situ chemical reduction is applicable over a wide pH range, which makes it applicable for many sites. The reactions for chemical reduction are also quite fast; reactions could occur within 5 minutes or longer 5 days depending on the reducing agent is used. Overall, in-situ chemical reduction will reduce the total and hexavalent chromium to the stable and much less toxic state chromium (III).

Concrete Vault: In-situ chemical oxidation (ISCO) using Fenton’s reagent will be quick and effective in remediating the subsurface soil and groundwater. As an oxidant, Fenton’s reagent works very quickly, and the volatile organic compounds in this section can be chemically oxidized when they react with Fenton’s reagent. Fenton’s reagent is hydrogen peroxide, along with iron (II) acting as a catalyst, which allows this fast oxidizing reaction to occur. The iron catalyst is important because it enhances another reaction called the hydroxyl radical. The reaction is shown below:

Equation: Fe 2+ + H 2 O 2 OH + + OH - + Fe 3+ When the VOCs are oxidized they are destroyed resulting in water and carbon dioxide as by products. If some of the hydrogen peroxide is not used in the oxidation process it can lead to a long term bioremediation process. Hydrogen peroxide also serves as an oxygen source, which can ultimately promote biodegradation of any remaining contaminants (Jacobs). Fenton’s reagent also works best with acidic conditions and Egg Harbor Township is located in an area where soil pH is known to be acidic. Therefore, in-situ chemical oxidation using Fenton’s reagent a good approach to clean the concrete vault area.

Alternatives

Evaporation Tank:

1. No Action – Natural Attenuation No action could be taken to remediate the chromium contaminated subsurface and groundwater. Natural processes could take care of the contamination over time. Soil and groundwater would be monitored to check progress. However, since the excavation and cap of the surface soils in 1985 no actions have been taken, and levels

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of total and hexavalent chromium have hardly diminished. Therefore, natural attenuation is not a viable solution to cleaning the chromium-contaminated area.

2. Chromium reduction through bioremediation Some sulfate reducing bacteria can utilize chromate (CrO 4 ) as an electron acceptor and ultimately reduce chromium (VI) to chromium (III). The reaction is as follows:

2CrO 4 -2 + CH 2 -2 + 10H + à 2Cr +3 + 6H 2 O + CO 2

Sulfate and iron reducing bacteria can also coincidentally reduce dichromate (Cr 2 O 7 -2 ) from the reduced product of the original reaction. So, the reduced sulfur or reduced Iron (II) would react with dichromate, which will in turn reduce the chromium (VI):

3S -2 + Cr 2 O 7 -2 + 14H + 3S 0 + 2Cr +3 + 7H 2 O

6Fe +2 + Cr 2 O 7 = + 14H + 6Fe +3 + 2Cr +3 + 7H 2 O

Both, direct and coincidental reduction of chromium requires the addition of carbon to allow the reaction to carry out. Bioremediation of chromium requires a pH to be between 5.5 and 8, which the pH of the soil at the evaporation tank is likely to be too acidic. The required bacteria also have to be present for bioremediation of chromium, such as a chromate utilizing sulfate-reducing bacteria if chromate is used as an electron acceptor. If chromate is not used as the electron acceptor, then the required electron acceptor, such as ferric iron or sulfate, needs to be present. Chromium levels are also considered toxic for bacteria, so high levels of total chromium inhibit bioremediation.

3. Pump and treat

The chromium-contaminated groundwater can be pumped out of the ground. The dissolved chromium (VI) can then be recovered and removed from the pumped out water. It is then recovered through reduction and precipitation. The clean water can then be pumped back into the ground. With this method, the chromium in the vadose zone would also need to be mobilized and flushed with a surfactant into the zone of saturation. The pump and treat method would be costly, and more time consuming when compared to in-situ chemical reduction.

Concrete Vault:

1. No Action- Natural Attenuation No action could be taken to remediate the chromium contaminated subsurface and groundwater. Natural processes could take care of the contamination over time. Soil and groundwater would be monitored to check progress. However, since the excavation and cap of the surface soils in 1995 no actions have been taken, and levels of total and hexavalent chromium have hardly diminished. Therefore, natural attenuation is not a viable solution to cleaning the chromium-contaminated area.

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2. Soil Vapor Extraction along with air sparging Soil vapor extraction (SVE) along with air sparging was implemented for approximately 8 months in 1996 in the soil and also groundwater of the concrete vault area. Post SVE sampling shows that this treatment was very effective in remediating the contaminated soil, however, the levels of VOCs in the groundwater were and currently are still above standards. To combat the exceeding levels in groundwater, more air sparging wells could be installed to strip the pollutants in the groundwater. The cost to implement SVE and air sparging would be very inexpensive since everything necessary to perform SVE is currently on site because of the previous use of SVE and sparging. However, because of the original results of the groundwater contamination, this technology can still fail to remediate VOCs of the groundwater.

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References

Chang, Paula. (2007). Remediation of Mixed Chromium and TCE Releases (PowerPoint Slides). Retrieved from: http://www.epa.gov/presentations/Chang_Paula.ppt

Chromium Compounds. (2013, October 18). EPA. Retrieved April 18, 2014, from http://www.epa.gov/ttn/atw/hlthef/chromium.html

Ethylbenzene. EPA. Retrieved April 24, 2014, from http://www.epa.gov/ttn/atw/hlthef/ethylben.html

Jacobs, J. (n.d.). Concepts of Chemical Oxidation In Soil & Water Using Fenton’s Reagant. Fast-tek. Retrieved April 23, 2014, from http://www.fast-tek.com/TM104.pdf

Universal Aluminum Extrusion Corporation. (2014, March 12). EPA. Retrieved April 20, 2014, from http://www.epa.gov/region2/waste/fsuniver.htm

Universal Aluminum Extrusion Corporation Environmental Indicator Status. (n.d.). EPA. Retrieved April 20, 2014, from www.epa.gov/region2/waster/univer725.pdf

Xylenes(A) (Mixed Isomers). EPA. Retrieved April 24, 2014, from

http://www.epa.gov/ttn/atw/hlthef/xylenes.html#ref1

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Appendix A

Figure 1 – Former Evaporation Tank Area (Environmental Indicator Status)

Evaporation Tank Area (Environmental Indicator Status) Figure 2 - Former Underground Vault Area (Environmental

Figure 2 - Former Underground Vault Area (Environmental Indicator Status)

Tank Area (Environmental Indicator Status) Figure 2 - Former Underground Vault Area (Environmental Indicator Status)

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Appendix B

 

Contaminant

Location/

Remedial Progress

Recommendation

Distribution

Evaporation

Chromium (total and VI)

Subsurface

Excavation of tank and surrounding contaminated surface soil. Backfilled with clean material

In-Situ Chemical Reduction

Tank Area

Soil and

 

Groundwater

 

Underground

VOCs

Subsurface

Excavation of vault and contaminated surface soil (replaced with clean backfill). SVE along with Air sparging

In-Situ Chemical Oxidation

Vault Area

Soil and

Groundwater