(Stacey Tinsley, Bossier Press-Tribune)
Community residents gathered on Tuesday, April 12, and heard from Claire Woods, Director of Environmental Justice Policies and Programs for the Multistate Trust, regarding removal of contaminated soil in Bossier City.
The contaminated soil site is located at 520 Hamilton Road, near the intersection of Hamilton Road and Green Street (about 0.5 mile north of Interstate 20 in Bossier City). The site is the former home of the Tronox/Kerr-McGee wood treatment facility. The site was used by Kerr-McGee Chemical Corporation and its predecessors for wood treatment operations from 1930 to 1987.
During the facility’s years of operation, creosote and other chemicals were used to process wood products. Creosote-contaminated process wastewater was discharged to open, unlined stormwater ditches, which ran to the north of the site, east of Dickerson Street, and along the railroad ditches east of the Scott-Dickerson homes and the site. In the 1960s, the area to the north of the site where contaminated process wastewater was previously allowed to flow was graded and the ditches were filled. Homes and apartment buildings were built on top of the area where the facility’s former operators had left contamination.
The facility was decommissioned in 1988. Kerr-McGee transferred the site to Tronox, L.L.C. in 2005. After Tronox filed for bankruptcy, ownership and management of the site was transferred to the Multistate Trust in 2011.
Through its investigation under LDEQ’s Risk Evaluation/Corrective Action Program (RECAP), the Multistate Trust found soil contamination in areas around the Scott-Dickerson homes, on neighboring properties on Scott and Dickerson Streets, and in nearby ditches. The contaminants in these areas, including polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), are found in creosote, which was used for wood treatment during the facility’s operation.
The Multistate Trust, in consultation with LDEQ, is removing soil to address surface contamination. This work has been prioritized, and is occurring before on-site cleanup, in order to minimize risks to residents.
The Multistate Trust consulted with the City of Bossier City about use of Green Street and Hamilton Road before the work began. The city reported no concerns with use of Hamilton Road, given its current condition. The city did require the Multistate Trust to take additional measures if the haul route were to include Green Street. As a result, the Multistate Trust contractors, Jacobs Engineering Group and SEMS Inc., constructed a haul road on the site to avoid use of and potential damage to Green Street.
The mobilization and field preparation work started in February 2022 and soil removal began in March 2022. Excavated soil is being taken to the Republic Services Webster Parish Landfill in accordance with all federal, state, and local laws.
Community meetings about the site and excavation work were held in August 2021 (two meetings held virtually), October 2021 (two meetings held in person and virtually), January 2022 (two meetings held in person and virtually), in addition to the two meetings that were held Tuesday, April 12.
“Residents and community members have many questions and reach out to the Multistate Trust regularly for support. Some residents have expressed concerns about the extent to which the ongoing work will impact the health and safety of residents,” Woods said.
“During the work, steps are being taken to protect the health, safety, and security of residents and to minimize noise, traffic, and other impacts on the community. Air and dust are monitored to protect residents from exposure to contaminants at unsafe levels. To minimize noise impacts, the Multistate Trust is ensuring noisy equipment has mufflers and is limiting hours of high-noise activity. Traffic control, work sequencing, and odor control are also in place to reduce disruptions. A message board displaying information about the ongoing work is posted at Scott-Dickerson homes,” she added.
“Planning documents designed to protect the health and safety of residents and workers and to minimize disturbance to the community include the following plans: Health and Safety Plan; Work Plan/Excavation Plan; Utilities Identification Plan; Air Monitoring Plan; Dust and Odor Control Plan; Noise Control Plan; Transportation and Disposal Plan (Traffic Control); Decontamination Plan; Stormwater Pollution Prevention Plan and Landscape Maintenance Plan. Select planning documents are available on the Multistate Trust website,” Woods concluded.
Creosote is a mixture of many chemicals. Information about the health effects of creosote is available on the CDC’s ToxFAQs website page for creosote.
For questions about the health effects of creosote and creosote-related chemicals, please contact the Louisiana Department of Health (LDH), Section of Environmental Epidemiology and Toxicology (SEET) toll-free at (888) 293-7020. We can also provide a more direct contact, if it would be helpful.
“Based on historical information shared by residents during Community Meetings and in one-on-one conversations, the Multistate Environmental Response Trust (Multistate Trust) plans in 2022 to collect soil samples from three residential areas located along: (1) Green Street and Scott Street (between Dickerson Street and just west of Ward Street), (2) Green Street west of Hamilton Road, and (3) Carver Street, south of the site. If sampling in these areas shows contamination, the Multistate Trust will continue to sample based on historical information and areas of known contamination,” Woods said.
“Through our work in Bossier City, the Multistate Trust is committed to sharing information with the community about the environmental investigations and the plans for cleanup. The Multistate Trust is also seeking input from the community in planning for the safe and beneficial reuse of the site,” she added.
The Multistate Trust is an independent, court-appointed trust whose main purpose is to protect human health and the environment. The Multistate Trust was created as part of the 2011 Tronox bankruptcy settlement, which involved the federal government, state governments, Tronox, and others. The Multistate Trust cleans up former Tronox/Kerr-McGee sites in 31 states and facilitates site reuse and long-term stewardship, using funds from the settlement.