Hazardous Waste Program

Eaton Hydraulics Inc.

EPA ID# MOD007155781

DNR Contact:         Don Dicks, 573-751-3553 or 800-361-4827
EPA Contact:         Ken Herstowski, PE, 913-551-7631 or 800-223-0425
Facility Contact:     Terry Etter, PE
Last Updated:         Dec. 1, 2014

Current Activities

Eaton and Unisys are performing long-term monitoring and maintenance of the closed lagoon system under a Missouri Hazardous Waste Management Facility Part I Permit. The status of Eaton and Unisys’ post-closure and corrective action activities is described below. The public can review and copy paper copies of all permits, reports and supporting documents at the agency locations above.

Facility Description

The Eaton Hydraulics Inc. site is located on about 50 acres at 2800 W. Tenth St. in Joplin. Before 1952, lead and zinc ore mining was conducted on and next to the Eaton site. In 1952, Sperry-Vickers, a division of Sperry Corp., built and operated a manufacturing facility at the site. Vickers manufactured, assembled and tested gear and piston hydraulic pumps, motors, hydrostatic transmissions and power-steering boosters for industrial and agricultural applications. Effective Jan. 1, 1984, Sperry Corp. sold the Vickers division and the facility became a wholly-owned subsidiary of Libby-Owens-Ford Co.

A major part of the main plant was used for the production, assembly and testing operation. These operations included complete parts machining, heat treating, parts cleaning, painting, assembly and testing and used several different chemicals. Vickers also operated three metal plating operations, non-voltage cadmium and chromium plating operations and a copper stripping system. Vickers stored lubricants, solvents and oils in 11 underground storage tanks in three separate tank basins north of the manufacturing plant. Virgin chemicals were stored in the drum rack areas northwest of the plant.

A variety of hazardous wastes were produced as part of the facility operations, such as spent solvents, waste oils, paint residues, metal plating wastes, corrosives, scrap metals, cyanide and spent kolene salts. Drummed hazardous waste was stored on-site at two different locations, a hazardous waste storage building and a drum storage area north of the plant. Vickers constructed the hazardous waste storage building, originally known as Test Cell, in the early 1960s, to test parts and equipment manufactured for the automobile industry. Between 1984 and 1988, Vickers used this building to store drums of hazardous waste, with a capacity of sixty-five 55-gallon drums.

From 1952 until the early 1960s, all wastewater discharge from the plant occurred through a ditch draining north of the plant. The drainage ditch, which was approximately 350-foot long, was designated as the upper (south portion) and lower (north portion) impoundments. The impoundments were separated by a concrete underflow dam. Runoff from the facility property was received into the upper impoundment, where oils and oily wastewater were collected. Runoff continued through the underflow dam into the lower impoundment and eventually discharged into Leadville Hollow, a tributary to Turkey Creek.

In the early 1970s, Vickers built a lagoon treatment system, settling basins and sludge drying bed at the site. The lagoon treatment system consisted of two unlined surface impoundments in series, with a total design capacity of 1.06 million gallons. Oily wastewaters entered the first surface impoundment, Lagoon 1, which was 75 feet by 100 feet by 6 to 7 feet deep. A skimmer was used to remove accumulated floatable oils from the water surface, and the oil was sent off-site for recycling or disposal. The wastewater then flowed into the second surface impoundment, Lagoon 2, which was 280 feet by 100 feet by 6 to 7 feet deep. Two aerators were used to enhance biological treatment to degrade the remaining oil. Treated effluent from Lagoon 2 was discharged to the drainage ditch. Between the early 1980s and 1984 water from Lagoon 2 was discharge through a pipe that flowed into the city’s sanitary sewer system.

The settling basins and sludge drying bed consisted of a series of four basins between the lagoon treatment system and the drainage ditch. Basin 1 was a concrete settling tank, approximately 12 feet by 38 feet by 9 feet deep. Basin 2 and 3 were were twin filtering wastewater treatment tanks, also referred to as filter basins, built of cinder blocks, each approximately 23 feet by 25 feet by 6 feet deep. The lagoons were connected to Basin 1 and 2 through diversion valves. Accumulated sludge from the settling basins was transferred to sludge drying bed, approximately 50 feet by 12 feet by 4 feet deep, and allowed to dry. The dried sludge was disposed off-site and the effluent from this system was discharged to the drainage ditch.

Vickers operated the two surface impoundments (lagoon treatment system), hazardous waste storage building and sludge drying basin under the interim status portions of the federal Resource Conservation and Recovery Act, or RCRA. As of October 1985, the Vickers facility stopped all hazardous waste treatment activities. All manufacturing operations at the facility stopped in December 1987. In 1988, Libby-Owens-Ford sold 27 acres of the site, including the manufacturing building, to Able Body Corp., now known as Able Manufacturing LLC. Able Manufacturing currently produces fiberglass components for semi-tractor trailer cabs in the old Vickers manufacturing building and in a new building the company built south of the old Vickers building.

Libby-Owens-Ford, which later became known as TRINOVA Corp., retained control of the lagoon treatment system and northwest corner of site. In April 1997, TRINOVA changed its name to Aeroquip-Vickers, Inc., which later merged with Eaton Corp. in February 1999. In 2010, Eaton Corp. began operating under the name Eaton Hydraulics LLC, as a result of an intra-company merger.

Post-Closure and Corrective Action Status

According to applicable state and federal hazardous waste laws and regulations, all hazardous waste treatment, storage and disposal facilities are required to investigate and clean up releases of hazardous waste and hazardous constituents to the environment at their facility resulting from present and past hazardous waste handling practices. In June 1984, Radian Corp. installed a groundwater monitoring system, on behalf of Vickers, to comply with the RCRA groundwater monitoring requirements. Sample results from the wells in December 1984 showed elevated levels of several organic chemical contaminants in all wells. On behalf of Vickers, Dames & Moore installed new wells, up- and downgradient of the surface impoundments in the summer of 1985. A surface soil survey was also performed since discolored soil and solvent-like odors were detected at several surface locations on the western parcel of the site. During the investigations drums and other trash were found in three of 22 test trenches dug on the northwestern portion of the site. Investigation results showed what appeared to be elevated levels of some organic and inorganic constituents on and under part of the site, extending to the northern and western property boundaries.

In 1985 and 1986, Ecology & Environment Inc. performed a RCRA Preliminary Assessment/Site Investigation for the site, on behalf of EPA. The assessment was conducted to identify and gather information on actual and potential releases of hazardous waste and hazardous constituents to the environment. The 1985 RCRA Preliminary Assessment Report recommended further investigation of the facility based on widespread evidence of soil, groundwater and possible surface water contamination. The 1986 RCRA Site Investigation Report included sampling results of the hazardous waste management units, which included the lagoon system, drainage ditch and settling basin/sludge drying bed series, and the groundwater. The sample results confirmed the units as multiple sources responsible for the previously documented groundwater and soil contamination at the site..

In 1985, Vickers decided to close the hazardous waste management units. Closure of the lagoons, settling basins and drainage ditch impoundments began in the fall of 1986. Water, approximately 3,034 cubic yards of sludge and 615 cubic yards of soil were removed from the lagoon system. All hazardous waste stored in the hazardous waste storage building was removed and the building was decontaminated. Wastes were also removed from the settling basins. Vickers demolished and removed the settling basins and contaminated soils. The hazardous waste storage building and settling basins were clean closed. In May 1987, the 11 underground storage tanks were removed and the areas were backfilled and capped.

As a result of the 1986 RCRA Site Investigation Report, Vickers voluntarily entered into an 3008(h) Corrective Action Administrative Order on Consent with EPA, Docket No. 87-H-0007, on Sept. 30, 1987. The Order identified 12 solid waste management units that required additional investigation. Results from samples taken in February 1988 indicated additional soil needed to be removed from the lagoon system. Activities to complete closure of the lagoons resumed in the spring of 1988. The two lagoons were closed as a landfill. The drum rack area was closed in 1988. The department accepted Vicker’s closure report and certification for the hazardous waste management units; however, because hazardous waste remained in place in the lagoon system area after closure, the area is also required to go through a period of post-closure care.

In response to the Order, Vickers and later Unisys Corp., formerly Sperry Corp., completed interim measures at the site in order to reduce or prevent unacceptable risks to human health and the environment. An interim measure is an action taken to temporarily control the contamination source or path the contamination could take from the source to humans, animals or the environment, such as air, soil, water and food. As an interim measure, Vickers installed a light non-aqueous phase liquid (LNAPL) recovery and treatment plant in 1989. During this time, corrective action activities were also implemented for the buried waste and container removal in the western portion of the property.

Unisys Corp. performed a RCRA Facility Investigation to define the horizontal and vertical extent of any contamination. The investigation began during the summer of 1989 and was performed separately for on-site and off-site contamination. On behalf of Vickers and Unisys, Dames & Moore submitted the On-Site RCRA Facility Investigation Report to EPA in October 1989, with supplemental submissions in 1990, 1992 and 1993. The sample results showed soil and groundwater beneath the site contaminated with volatile organic compounds, semi-volatile organic compounds and metals. The on-site investigation report also identified six additional solid waste management units and three areas of concern. Based on these results, the investigation concluded the 18 solid waste management units and three areas of concern required additional investigation and corrective action, or cleanup. 

In the spring and summer of 1992, extensive soil and groundwater investigations were completed to continue on- and off-site RCRA Facility Investigation activities. During the fall of 1993 through spring of 1994, additional data was collected to address gaps in the facility investigation and to complete the on-site Corrective Measures Study, which was performed to identify and evaluate possible remedial alternatives for the soil and groundwater contamination on facility property. Unisys submitted a draft on-site Corrective Measures Study to EPA and the department in June 1994.

On April 26, 1999, the department issued a Missouri Hazardous Waste Management Facility Part I permit to Eaton Hydraulics, as the current owner, and Unisys Corp., as the current operator. The remaining work under the Order transferred to the Part I Permit, including combining the on- and off-site Corrective Measures Studies, and oversight responsibility for the corrective action activities shifted from EPA to the department. Because Unisys appealed specific conditions in the permit, which were not dismissed until June 2007, EPA did not terminate the Order until Jan. 9, 2009.

In order to complete the facility investigation stage, Unisys submitted the Off-Site RCRA Facility Investigation Report to the department in September 2000, with revisions in 2001. The sample results showed groundwater off site to the north and northeast of the facility were contaminated.  At the department’s request, Unisys performed a consolidated Corrective Measures Study to identify and evaluate possible remedial alternatives for the soil and groundwater contamination located on the entire former Vickers facility, including the property owned by Able Body. Unisys submitted the final Corrective Measures Study Report to the department and EPA in December 2007. The report includes Unisys’ preferred remedy along with other remedial alternatives. The department and EPA are currently reviewing the report. The department and EPA will select the best remedy given site-specific considerations for each solid waste management unit and area of concern. The public will be invited to review and comment on the proposed remedy before the department and EPA make a final decision. Current activities at the facility include operation and maintenance of the groundwater monitoring system, LNAPL recovery and treatment system and a collection and treatment system (air stripper) for dissolved-phase volatile organic compounds.

Regulatory Status

Vickers and its predecessors operated the surface impoundments, a hazardous waste storage building and a sludge drying basin under the interim status portions of the federal and state hazardous waste laws, 40 CFR Part 265 and 10 CSR 25-7.265. When Congress passed the hazardous waste federal law in 1980, all existing facilities that treated, stored or disposed of hazardous waste in a manner that would necessitate a hazardous waste permit were required to get such a permit. Because of the large number of existing facilities, Congress set up requirements which allowed these facilities to operate temporarily under “interim status” until they received their permit. Vickers decided not to continue the hazardous waste permitting process and to close the units. Vickers is subject to the permitting requirements of the Missouri Hazardous Waste Management Law and federal Hazardous and Solid Waste Amendments for post-closure care because hazardous waste remained in place after closure. Vickers is also subject to corrective action because they completed closure of the interim status hazardous waste management units after the effective date of the federal Hazardous and Solid Waste Amendments.

Eaton (formerly Vickers) and Unisys are conducting post-closure and corrective action activities under a Missouri Hazardous Waste Management Facility Part I Permit, issued by the department and effective April 26, 1999. The permit was issued to Eaton Hydraulics, as current owner, and Unisys Corp., as current operator. This permit requires Eaton and Unisys to continue to perform long-term monitoring and maintenance of the closed lagoon system. This permit also requires implementation of a sitewide corrective action program to address releases of hazardous waste or hazardous constituents to the environment from other solid waste management units and areas of concern.

On May 19, 2014, the department approved Eaton's Class 2 Permit Modification request, allowing Eaton to increase the volatile organic compound mass removal associated with the multiphase extraction wells, abandon five monitoring wells and change analytical methods to allow lower detection limits.

Eaton submitted a permit application on Nov. 10, 2008, for renewal of their existing hazardous waste permit. Since Eaton and Unisys closed all permitted hazardous waste units and no longer operate, this permit application is for post-closure and corrective action only. The facility’s existing hazardous waste permit expired April 26, 2009. State and federal regulations, 40 CFR 270.51, allow the existing hazardous waste permit to continue in effect until the department and EPA issue or deny a new hazardous waste permit. The department is reviewing the application for completeness.