The Louisiana Steel site is located on about 20 acres at 320 S. 30th St. in Louisiana, Missouri. Valley Steel Products Co. originally operated a channel and tubular steel products plant on the property from 1947 to June 1990. In January 1991, Pike Steel purchased the facility property, excluding about 2 acres Valley Steel had been leasing, and leased the property to Lincoln Steel and Supply Co. The property Valley Steel had been leasing was later subleased to Lincoln Steel, who began doing business on the property as Louisiana Steel Inc. in 1996.
The Valley Steel facility is considered a closed hazardous waste disposal facility. Valley Steel cut, formed, annealed and finished channel and tubular steel at the site. The steel was put through a pickling process, where it was submerged in several baths of pickling liquor (heated 5% sulfuric acid) to remove rust, scale and dirt. Periodically, the used or “spent” pickling liquor was replaced with clean pickling liquor and the spent solution disposed. From 1970 to 1982, Valley Steel discharged the spent pickling liquor and rinse water to three surface impoundments. In 1981, EPA determined spent pickling liquor from steel finishing operations was as a listed hazardous waste (K062) based on its high levels of lead, chromium and mercury. Valley Steel operated the surface impoundments under the “interim status” portions of the federal Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA).
Groundwater monitoring sample results between 1982 and 1984, indicated the facility was possibly affecting groundwater quality. In February 1984, Valley Steel entered into a Consent Agreement with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), which required Valley Steel to develop a closure plan, sample its sludge and underlying soil, remove all liquids and soil found to be hazardous waste from the lagoons and close the lagoons. Valley Steel closed the surface impoundments in 1987, according to a department-approved closure plan. The facility was not subject to the permitting requirements of the Missouri Hazardous Waste Management Law and federal Hazardous and Solid Waste Amendments to RCRA; however, the facility was subject to the corrective action requirements because Valley Steel completed the closure activities after the effective date of the federal Hazardous and Solid Waste Amendments.
Valley Steel continued sampling groundwater once every three months until 1990. The sample results showed shallow groundwater on the property was contaminated with high metal concentrations, which appeared to come from the former surface impoundment area. Metals and sulfates were identified as the main contaminants of concern. EPA filed a 3008(h) Consent Order in September 1990, requiring Valley Steel to implement a corrective action program. Pike Steel purchased the facility, excluding the surface impoundments, in January 1991, and leased the property to the Lincoln Steel and Supply Co. Valley Steel continued post-closure care of the surface impoundments until 1991 and filed for bankruptcy in 1992. The site became subject to the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA) and referred to the federal Superfund program in 1994. The 1999 Removal Assessment Report concluded the contaminants did not appear to be entering Noix Creek and that removing the contaminated soil from the facility property was not necessary.
The department received a settlement from the Valley Steel bankruptcy to perform post-closure care at the facility property. Additional groundwater monitoring in 2001 and 2006, concluded that metal levels detected in the groundwater were below current cleanup guidance and the overall contaminant levels had decreased over time. The department determined no further corrective action was necessary and the site did not pose any unacceptable risks to human health or the environment. On Sept. 27, 2011, following the opportunity for public review and comment, the department, in coordination with EPA, approved the proposed final remedy of no further corrective action. The department and EPA released the facility from regulation as a former interim status hazardous waste treatment, storage, and disposal facility subject to the corrective action requirements of the Missouri Hazardous Waste Management Law and regulations and federal Hazardous and Solid Waste Amendments to RCRA, effective Oct. 27, 2011.