U.S. EPA Contaminated Site Cleanup Information (CLU-IN)

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
U.S. EPA Technology Innovation and Field Services Division

Dense Nonaqueous Phase Liquids (DNAPLs)

Treatment Technologies

Thermal Processes: Ex Situ

Multi-Component Waste

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General Resources | Case Studies: Multi-Component Waste | Case Studies: Creosote

General Resources

Adobe PDF LogoTechnical Requirements for On-Site Low Temperature Thermal Treatment of Non-Hazardous Soils Contaminated with Petroleum/Coal Tar/Gas Plant Wastes
Interstate Technology and Regulatory Cooperation (ITRC) Low Temperature Thermal Desorption Task Group.
TD-1, 22 pp, 1996

This document addresses the use of low temperature thermal treatment for soils affected by gasoline, mineral spirits, kerosene, jet fuel, fuel oil, crude oil and cutting oil, coal tars, purifier box waste, and combinations of all of these contaminants.

Case Studies: Multi-Component Waste

Thermal Desorption at the Reilly Industries Superfund Site, OU 3 Indianapolis, Indiana
Federal Remediation Technology Roundtable Cost and Performance Database, 2002

The 120-acre Reilly Industries Superfund site is a former coal tar refinery and creosote wood treatment plant. Contaminants of concern in the soil included PAHs, benzene, toluene, and pyridine, including its derivatives. The 1993 ROD required treatment of 11,000 tons of soil on site using thermal desorption. Between November 1996 and January 1997, 3,700 tons of contaminated soil were treated. The presence of elevated BTU and moisture content of the soil limited the amount of material that could be processed through the desorber. Engineering modifications did not increase the throughput rate, and the vendor was able to treat only about one-third of the contaminated soil originally intended. The remaining contaminated soil was shipped off site for treatment using a boiler or industrial furnace.

Case Studies: Creosote

Adobe PDF LogoExplanation of Significant Differences for the St. Maries Creosote Site, St. Maries, Idaho
U.S. EPA Region 10, 20 pp, Feb 2014

Soil, groundwater, and sediment in the St. Joe River are contaminated with creosote released from a wood treatment facility (1939-1960). With this ESD, EPA approved an approach for delineating the sediment area requiring cleanup that includes sediment chemistry as a primary factor but also considers several other lines of evidence to develop a map delineating specific areas and depths where sediment will be removed from the river. Contaminated sediment will be dredged and removed, and dredged areas will be backfilled with clean imported material. Owing to the shallow depth to groundwater, EPA changed the depth of soil that will be excavated and treated via thermal remediation in the upland area from 20 ft to 10 ft. Soils deeper than 10 ft will be solidified in place. EPA also revised the soil cleanup goal for benzene from 0.002 mg/kg to 1.1 mg/kg. Additional information

Moss-American Co., Inc. (Kerr-McGee Oil Co.)
Contact: Russell Hart, Remedial Project Manager, U.S. EPA,, 312-886-4844

In 1921, the T.J. Moss Tie Company established a wood-preserving facility west of the Little Menomonee River, in Milwaukee, WI. The plant preserved railroad ties, poles, and fence posts with creosote, a mixture of numerous chemical compounds, derived from coal tar. No. 6 fuel oil was also used, but no evidence of pentachlorophenol was noted. Free-standing creosote or an oil sheen was observed in three monitoring well samples; similar observations were noted in eight test pits. A total of 137,000 tons of DNAPL-contaminated soil underwent ex situ thermal desorption treatment. Other cleanup activities included installation of a funnel and gate system to collect approximately 10,000 gallons of free product, injection of air and nutrients into the groundwater to promote biological degradation of groundwater contaminants, and the creation of a new channel slightly east or west of the existing Little Menomonee River stream channel, diversion of flow into the new channel, and removal of the most contaminated sediment from the dewatered former channel.

Adobe PDF LogoGCL Tie & Treating
Contact (2007): Monica Baussan,, 212-637-4271

The GCL Tie and Treating site occupies approximately 30 acres in an industrial area in southwestern Delaware County, Sidney, NY. The property consisted of a sawmill and wood treating facility known as GCL Tie and Treating, and a former light manufacturing company. The site was contaminated with creosote-related chemicals. DNAPL was observed in the unsaturated and saturated zone extending into bedrock. Approximately 109,000 tons of contaminated soil, sediment, and debris were excavated and treated by low temperature thermal desorption at the Site. A groundwater pump-and-treat system addresses dissolved-phase chemicals. DNAPL mass remains in the deeper subsurface.

Adobe PDF LogoBayou Bonifouca
Contact: Mike McAteer,, 214-665-7157

Beginning in the late 1800s, the Bayou Bonfouca site in Slidell, LA, was used for commercial wood-treating operations involving creosote. A stretch of the bayou about 1.5 miles long was found to be biologically sterile due to creosote contamination in the sediments and the water column. The contamination was so severe that it caused second-degree burns to divers, injured or killed aquatic animals and waterfowl, and posed a significant recreational hazard. The areas of highest contamination were found within the on-site creosote deposits and in surface soils near the creosote waste deposits. The remedy consisted of excavation of contaminated sediments that exceeded the remediation goals or to a depth that would minimize the threat to aquatic life, on-site incineration of over 170,000 cubic yards of creosote waste and contaminated sediments, a RCRA-compliant Subtitle C landfill cap for on-site containment of incinerator residue and surface soils with PAH concentrations exceeding remediation goals, and a groundwater pump-and-treat system.

First Five-Year Review Report for the Central Wood Preserving Company Superfund Site, East Feliciana Parish, Louisiana
U.S. EPA Region 6, 98 pp, 2009

The Central Creosoting Company, Inc. operated from the 1950s to January 1, 1973, using creosote exclusively as the wood preservative. On January 3, 1973, the facility was sold to Central Wood Preserving Company, Inc., which discontinued the use of creosote and instead treated wood with chromated copper arsenate (CCA). Creosote and CCA were spilled on the site property over a period of 40 years. The 2001 ROD specified removal and low-temperature thermal desorption (LTTD) on site for the soils and sediments, with off-site stabilization and disposal of removed soils. Excavation likely removed the small amounts of DNAPL found during RD data collection. The remedial action began in November 2003, with excavation and LTTD completion in September 2004.

Adobe PDF LogoMadisonville Creosote Works
Contact (2007): Laura Stankosky,, 214-665-7525

Wood-preserving operations at the site began in 1956 or 1957 in St. Tammy Parish, LA. During wood-treating operations, poles, ties, and lumber were treated by impregnating the wood with creosote in retort cylinders under elevated temperature and pressure. The waste streams generated during these operations included process water, cooling water, boiler water, and waste creosote. The selected remedy for OU 1 included the excavation and treatment of contaminated soil and sediments (87,000 cubic yards) using low temperature thermal desorption, installation of a DNAPL recovery trench system, and constructionof a DNAPL collection system and wastewater treatment plant.

Thermal Desorption at the Cape Fear Superfund Site, Fayetteville, North Carolina
Federal Remediation Technology Roundtable Cost and Performance Database, 2002

The Cape Fear Superfund site was operated as a wood preserving facility from 1953 to 1983, first using a creosote process and, starting in 1970, using a copper-chromated-arsenate process. Investigations showed that soil at the site was contaminated with creosote constituents (PAHs), benzene, and metals, including arsenic and chromium. A low temperature thermal desorption system was used in a demonstration test performed July 20 - 22, 1998, on 1,900 cubic yards of soil, and full-scale thermal desorption was conducted from July 1998 to April 1999, during which time 170,300 tons of soil were treated.