EPA has proposed seven possible alternatives for dealing with dioxin-contaminated soil at Times Beach, MO. The town of Times Beach was contaminated by dioxin in 1972-73 when the Bliss Oil Co. sprayed contaminated oil onto local roads to suppress dust (and to get rid of the unwanted dioxin). EPA discovered high levels of dioxin contamination in the town in 1982 and in early 1983 EPA began buying the town and moving the residents out. All the residents have now been moved and EPA is considering what to do with the contaminated property it owns. Times Beach has about 150,000 cubic yards of soil containing more than one part per billion (ppb) of dioxin, the level at which EPA becomes concerned about health.
The seven alternatives include (1) do nothing; (2) fence the contaminated area to keep people out and begin monitoring to check whether dioxin is migrating off the site; (3) put one foot of topsoil over the contaminated area and seed it; then monitor to see if dioxin is migrating off the site; (4) dig up the soil and move it to an on-site covered, concrete-reinforced cell underlain by an impermeable lining to contain the wastes; (5) dig up the soil and truck it to a landfill somewhere else; (6) build two rotary kiln incinerators on the site and burn the soil to destroy the dioxin, and (7) build the incinerators and burn the soil, plus burn an additional 39,000 cubic yards of soil from three other dioxin-contaminated sites in Missouri.
Costs of these proposals range from $8.8 million for No. 2 to $203 million for No. 7. Reportedly, EPA is
leaning toward No. 6. The state of Missouri has approved the use of a portable incinerator for detoxifying
dioxin-contaminated soils at other sites in the state; by early 1987, two million pounds of soil had been
decontaminated by incineration in Missouri. For further information about Times Beach: Steve Wurtz, EPA
Region VII, 726 Minnesota Ave., Kansas City, MO 66101; phone (913) 236-2803.
--Peter Montague, Ph.D.
Descriptor terms: epa; dioxin; soil contamination; mo; times beach; bliss oil; landfilling; incineration; remedial action; soil contamination; statistics;