On July 14, 2023, the U.S. Environmental
Protection Agency (EPA) responded to a report of a chemical fire at 1919 South
Sand Hill Road in Burrton, Kansas. EPA On-Scene Coordinators (OSCs) found a
smoldering pit containing at least 50 burned containers.
EPA monitored the air in real time and
identified volatile organic compounds (VOCs) within the smoke plume. However,
VOCs were not detected at elevated levels away from the burn
pit, indicating widespread impacts were not present at that time. Additionally,
an estimated 577 unburned containers were staged near the burn pit.
EPA oversaw response actions conducted
by the Potentially Responsible Party (PRP) to stabilize the incident and
relocate the containers into an on-site storage building.
On August 18, 2023, EPA and the PRP
entered into a settlement agreement obligating the PRP to conduct assessment
and cleanup actions at the site. Under this settlement agreement, the PRP will
assess and dispose of the remaining containers; assess and clean up soil in and
around the burn pit; and assess and remediate (if necessary) drinking water
wells in the area. All of these activities will be done under EPA oversight.
On November 7, 2023, the PRPs' contractor conducted excavation of the
burn pit. Once the containers and most of the ash were removed from the pit,
the PRPs' contractor and EPA's contractor collected soil samples for VOCs,
semi-volatile organic compounds (SVOCs), and metals from the base of the
excavation. These samples will be used to establish what contaminants of
concern were present in the burn pit. Soil was then excavated from the base and
sidewalls of the pit. Field screening of soil was conducted with a
photoionization detector (PID) to establish the extent of excavation.
Soil was also scraped in the area around the pit and the former
container staging area north of the pit. Waste from the pit and surrounding
area is being stored in plastic-lined roll-off containers on-site. The PRPs’
contractor collected samples from the roll-off containers to characterize the
waste for disposal. Orange safety fence was installed around the pit as a
temporary barrier until the pit can be backfilled.
During excavation, the PRPs' contractor conducted air monitoring for
VOCs at the excavation and approximately 200 feet downwind of the excavation.
EPA's contractor also conducted air monitoring at the excavation site. No
exceedances were noted by EPA or the PRPs' contractor.
On November 8, 2023, the unburned containers were packaged for
transportation off-site. The containers
were transported off-site for disposal on November 17, 2023.
Once the contaminants of concern for the burn pit are established, EPA
will determine cleanup levels. Confirmation samples will then be collected from
the sidewalls and base of excavation, as well as the former container staging
area north of the burn pit, to compare to the established cleanup levels. It’s
anticipated that this work will be conducted in early December 2023.