Region 8

Petrochem / Ekotek

Petrochem Recycling site location map Site Type: Deleted NPL
City: Salt Lake City
County: Salt Lake
Street Address: 1628 N. Chicago Street
ZIP Code: 84116
EPA ID: UTD093119196
SSID: 08F3
Site Aliases: Ecotech, Petrochem plant, Ecotek (Petroleum plant) Inc.
Congressional District: 1

Site Description

The Petrochem Recycling Corp./Ekotek site covers about seven acres at 1628 North Chicago Street in northern Salt Lake City. It lies in a mainly industrial area, between Interstate 15 on the west and the Wasatch Mountains on the east. Some 50 homes sit immediately south of the site. A railroad right-of-way divides the site into eastern and western portions. The majority of site operations occurred on the western half of the property. Hundreds of companies sent oil used for recycling to the plant from the five surrounding states.

Map of the Superfund site boundary

The site history involves many owners and different industrial activities. It is currently owned by the Ekotek, Inc. bankruptcy estate. The site was used for oil refining from 1953 to 1978, when it was converted into a hazardous waste storage/treatment and petroleum recycling facility.

From 1980 to 1987, the plant operated under Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) interim status and received a hazardous-waste-storage permit in July 1987 for a limited number of activities. Oil recycling processes created acidic sludge containing hazardous wastes, which were stored in piles on the site.

The plant used drums, 78 above-ground storage tanks and many underground tanks to store large volumes of oils, chemicals and hazardous wastes. Some of the oil was contaminated with polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs).

Improper and illegal waste-management practices led to a number of releases and potential releases of hazardous substances at the site. In late 1987 and early 1988, the state of Utah issued notices of violation to Petrochem Recycling Corporation for permit violations. The plant closed in February 1988.

EPA began an emergency response action in November 1988 to stabilize wastes and to keep track of potentially hazardous materials. Preliminary site investigations began in 1989. Based on the contaminants and potential risks associated with the site, EPA placed it on the Superfund National Priorities List (NPL) in October 1992.

An owner and an operator of the plant were subsequently convicted of environmental crimes based on their actions.

Major Potentially Responsible Parties (PRPs) for the wastes at the site joined to form the Ekotek Site Remediation Committee (ESRC) in 1988. EPA entered into two agreements with the ESRC to conduct emergency removal activities; to study the nature and extent of the contamination; and to weigh alternatives for cleanup. The ESRC performed the work with EPA oversight.

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Site Risk

The ESRC removed above-ground and underground storage tanks, containers, contaminated sludge, pooled liquids, and processing equipment from the site. The ESRC also conducted studies of the nature and extent of the remaining contamination and evaluated cleanup options. The results show that wastes and solvents from used petroleum products had contaminated surface and subsurface soils, as well as groundwater.

Media Affected Contaminants Source of Contamination
groundwater, surface water, soil, liquid waste, debris, residuals oil refining and recycling wastes, PCBs, acidic sludge wastes from petroleum recycling and refining

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Cleanup Progress

The contamination at the site affects soil, buried debris and groundwater, including a plume of oily liquid wastes floating on top of the groundwater. The cleanup study developed alternatives for each contaminated medium.

EPA published a proposed cleanup plan and conducted a public meeting in July 1995 to discuss the alternatives, including EPA's preferred remedy, with interested citizens. After reviewing public and state comments, EPA chose the cleanup remedy and published it in a Record of Decision (ROD) in September 1996.

The chosen remedy included:

  • Direct excavation of the plume of oily liquid wastes floating on top of the groundwater.
  • Bioremediation/natural attenuation (naturally occurring processes) of the groundwater.
  • Off-site disposal of soils exceeding the hot-spot criteria.
  • Consolidation of remaining contaminated soils beneath a 42-inch soil cover.

Studies done in 1999, however, showed that it would be more cost-effective to remove and dispose of all contaminated soils off site. As a result, no cap is necessary. This decision is documented in a modification to the ROD.

In March 1998, EPA and the ESRC signed an agreement to finance and carry out the remedy. The work was completed in April 2000. Groundwater monitoring will continue until the cleanup standards are met. The site will remain zoned for industrial use.

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Community Involvement

Community involvement plays an important role in the Superfund process. EPA uses a number of different tools and resources to promote effective, on-going, meaningful community involvement. The goals of the Superfund community involvement program are to:

  • Keep communities affected by sites informed throughout the cleanup process.
  • Provide opportunities for communities to comment and offer their input about site cleanup plans.
  • Facilitate the resolution of community issues tied to a site.

Members of the neighborhood around the site have played an active and important role in site cleanup. A community group received a Technical Assistance Grant (TAG) from EPA to hire a technical advisor to review cleanup plans and keep the community informed about related issues. The group has closed out the grant and disbanded.

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Site Documents

Records of Decision (RODs)

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Armando Saenz
Remedial Project Manager
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Region 8
1595 Wynkoop Street (8EPR-SR)
Denver, CO 80202-1129
800-227-8917 ext. 312-6559 (toll free Region 8 only)

Site Information Repositories:

J. Willard Marriott Library
Special Collections Department
University of Utah
295 South 1500 East
Salt Lake City, UT 84112-0860

EPA Superfund Records Center
1595 Wynkoop Street
Denver, CO 80202-1129
To request copies of administrative record documents call:
800-227-8917 ext. 312-7273 (toll free Region 8 only)


Katie Crane
Superfund Project Manager
Division of Environmental Response and Remediation
Utah Department of Environmental Quality
195 North 1950 West
Salt Lake City UT 84114-4840

Dave Allison
Community Involvement Specialist
Utah Department of Environmental Quality
195 North 1950 West
Salt Lake City UT 84114-4840

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The following links exit the site Exit

Utah Department of Environmental Quality

J. Willard Marriott Library

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