Carter Carburetor cleanup behind schedule, but moving ahead | St. Louis Public Radio

Carter Carburetor cleanup behind schedule, but moving ahead

Mar 12, 2015

Updated 3/13/15 after the meeting:

Demolition of the old Carter Carburetor plant on North Grand Avenue is expected to begin this summer.

That's according to HRP Associates, the main contractor for ACF Industries, the company responsible for much of the cleanup.

HRP and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency described the projected remediation schedule at a public meeting Thursday night at the Herbert Hoover Boys & Girls Club.

Asbestos and polychlorinated biphenyl (PCBs) are among the toxic industrial contaminants being removed from the Carter Carburetor site.
Credit Véronique LaCapra | St. Louis Public Radio

The meeting was sparsely attended. The main concerns raised were about increased truck traffic, and the possibility of contaminated dust drifting from the demolition into the JeffVanderLou neighborhood.

The Herbert Hoover Boys & Girls Club is located across Dodier Street from the main CBI building (see map, below), and there are bus stops at the corners of Dodier and Grand Avenue, as well as St. Louis Avenue and Grand. There is also a residential area across Grand to the east.

Gene Watson, the regional manager for HRP Associates, said truck traffic would inevitably increase during the remediation process. But he said there would be an offsite waiting area for the trucks, and that efforts would be made to minimize the impact to Grand Avenue traffic and residential streets.

The EPA is responsible for monitoring dust and contaminants throughout the cleanup and has set up four air monitors, one at each corner of the Carter Carburetor property. A fifth monitor will be erected in front of the Boys & Girls Club once demolition begins.

As of now, here are the plans for cleanup and monitoring:

The EPA is monitoring the air for dust, asbestos, lead, polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), volatile organic compounds (VOCs), polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) and trichloroethylene (TCE) during the cleanup.
Credit Véronique LaCapra | St. Louis Public Radio

Here's our preview story about the meeting:

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency will hold a meeting Thursday night to update the public on the progress of cleanup activities at a toxic industrial site in North St. Louis.

Remediation of the Carter Carburetor property began about a year ago with the removal of asbestos from the main CBI building, which backs onto North Spring Avenue.

That part of the process was supposed to finish in October, but according to EPA Region 7 spokesperson Chris Whitley, it is only about 85 percent complete.

This 2012 EPA map shows the location of the four main areas of contamination at the Carter Carburetor Superfund site.
Credit U.S. Environmental Protection Agency

The demolition of the CBI building — which was expected to start this spring — has been delayed over the selection of a contractor to carry out the work.

The Carter Carburetor property sits west of North Grand Boulevard, between St. Louis Avenue and Dodier Street in Ward 3.
Credit The City of St. Louis

But Whitley expects that decision soon. "We have reason to believe that the actual demolition and excavation can start as soon as this summer," Whitley said. "And if it does, that it should be completed by sometime in spring of 2016."

The next step would be the onsite destruction of a toxic industrial solvent called trichlorethylene, or TCE, which has contaminated soils at the former carburetor plant. "If that begins in spring of 2016, it could end in the fall of 2017," Whitley said.

Whitley could not provide a time estimate for the start of remediation in the Die Cast area of the property.

"All of those dates really are contingent on ACF Industries providing us with a detailed schedule that we can review and approve once they’ve chosen a demolition and excavation contractor," Whitley said. "Once we’ve got that schedule, we’ll absolutely be sharing it with the public."

ACF Industries is one of two former owners of the Carter Carburetor property. The other is Carter Building Inc., which will be responsible for the demolition and decontamination of the Willco building. The timeline for that is also yet to be determined.

Thursday's meeting will be held at the Herbert Hoover Boys & Girls Club, which is located across Dodier Street from the former Carter Carburetor plant.
Credit Véronique LaCapra | St. Louis Public Radio

Under the terms of separate consent decrees with the EPA, the companies will share the approximately $30 million cost of the cleanup.

The former gasoline and diesel carburetor manufacturing plant closed in 1984. Along with asbestos and TCE, the property is contaminated with PCBs and other toxic industrial chemicals.

Thursday's meeting will be held from 7 to 8:30 p.m. at the Herbert Hoover Boys & Girls Club, 2901 N. Grand Blvd, across the street from the EPA Superfund site. A representative from HRP Associates, the main contractor for ACF Industries, will also attend and take questions from the public.

At the last Carter Carburetor meeting about a year ago, attendees criticized the lack of local minority hiring on the remediation project.

Follow Véronique LaCapra on Twitter@KWMUScience