Jan 16, 2022, 11:20 am

Potter's Septic Tank Service Pits Superfund National Priorities List (NPL) Site

EPA Identifier: NCD981023260
CERCLIS ID: NCD981023260
34.2846, -78.1578


Maco, NC

Final Date: 19890331

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Site Summary:
Federal Register Notice:  March 31, 1989

Conditions at proposal (June 24, 1988): Potter's Septic Tank Services Pits occupy approximately 0.5 acre in the Sandy Creek Acres subdivision near Maco, Brunswick County, North Carolina.

On August 5, 1976, the U.S. Coast Guard was notified of an oil spill on Rattlesnake Branch near Maco. The Coast Guard traced the spill back to four unlined pits belonging to Potter's Septic Tank Services. Approximately 20,000 gallons of waste oil had spilled from one of the pits into Chinnis Branch and flowed into Rattlesnake Branch and surrounding wetlands. The owner of the company admitted to having used the pits since 1969 to dispose of waste oil from other spills. Creosote and septic sludge were also placed in the pits. The State fined the company for illegal disposal of oil. The Coast Guard removed another 20,000 gallons of oil from the spillage pit and an unknown amount of oil, sludge, and contaminated soil from the other pits. Some of the sludge was mixed in with soil and buried on the site.

In July 1983, the present owner of the property informed the North Carolina Department of Human Resources that he had uncovered sludge in his front yard. The State found phenols in the owner's well and told him to discontinue using the well. In September 1983, EPA found benzenes, phenols, xylenes, and other petroleum compounds in soil and ground water on the site. Heavy metals and chloroform were also found in on-site soils. An estimated 1,780 people obtain drinking water from private wells within 3 miles of the site.

In March and April of 1984, EPA used CERCLA emergency funds to remove approximately 3 million pounds of contaminated soil from the site and transport it to a hazardous waste facility regulated under Subtitle C of the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act.

Status (March 31, 1989): EPA's preliminary plan for fiscal year 1989 includes a remedial investigation/feasibility study to determine the type and extent of contamination at the site and identify alternatives for remedial action.