To view photographs of what the soil removal and replacement process
looks like, click here
Soil removal is a multi-step process that is
carefully controlled and monitored by environmental professionals
from start to finish. Properties that require cleanup are identified
by the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation (TDEC)
based on the results of soil sampling conducted by Velsicol in
recent years. TDEC also reviews and approves all cleanup methods
For cleanup work performed by Velsicol through
late 2005, TDEC set 3.0 parts per million of dieldrin as the "action level" at
or above which soil removal needs to take place. TDEC may change
the action level for future cleanup work. One part per million
can be thought of as roughly the equivalent of one inch in 16 miles.
Once a property is identified by TDEC as requiring
soil removal, Velsicol's Memphis Environmental Center contacts
the property owner to begin discussing how the process will take
place. Velsicol works closely with property owners to understand
their needs and concerns. Dates for soil removal are discussed,
as well as which (if any) trees, shrubs and fencing will need to
be removed and replaced during the process. Velsicol also takes
measurements and creates maps of the property that will be used
to identify areas where soil will be removed.
Once these preliminary steps are taken and the
property owner provides access, the site is prepared for soil removal
to begin. Trees, shrubs, outbuildings and other obstructions to
the process are removed to make way for digging equipment and the
trucks that will haul away the contaminated soil. Workers wear
disposable coveralls to keep their clothes clean and wear dust
masks to prevent the inhalation of soil particles during excavation.
During excavation, air sampling equipment is used to monitor the
air quality, and water is used to control dust as necessary.
Excavation consists of removing the top layer
of soil from the property and placing it in waiting trucks. Two
feet of soil were removed during the 2005 cleanup work, however,
TDEC may direct that a different excavation depth be used in the
future. Once a truck is full, the load is securely covered, and
the truck's tires and exterior are cleaned before it leaves the
The truck takes the soil to a special soil "consolidation
area" on Velsicol's plant property on Warford Avenue.
The consolidation area is an outdoor site that holds contaminated
soil that Velsicol removes from properties identified by TDEC as
requiring soil removal. Soil in the consolidation
area is protected
from wind and rain by a plastic cover.
After the contaminated soil is removed, workers
lay down orange construction fencing material as a marker to indicate
how far down the soil was removed. Then, clean soil is brought
in and new sod, trees and shrubs are planted. Any fences that had
to be removed to make way for trucks and digging equipment are
Velsicol works hard to ensure that the property
is restored to the same (or better) condition it was in before
the soil removal process began.