The Former Vicellon Plant in Fountain Inn, South Carolina manufactured medical devices between the mid -970s and late 1980s. In the mid-1980s, releases of tetracholorethene (PCE) were discovered to have occurred from a degreasing system onsite. The release resulted in a small area of soil contamination beneath and adjacent to the manufacturing plant and an extensive, rapidly moving PCE plume in groundwater. Initial responses by consultants caused the PCE plume to migrate downward into the weathered bedrock and moderately fractured competent bedrock beneath the site.
In 1993, First Environment re-assessed the contaminant plume and determined that the remaining contaminants, including PCE DNAPL were located in two discrete areas of bedrock and saprolite characterized by tight fractures and low permeability. First Environment designed, installed, and operated its proprietary FE ACTIVE system (an early version of a fixed base high vacuum extraction system combined groundwater pumping and initial pneumatic fracturing of the source area soil and bedrock. The system consisted of a pair of liquid-ring vacuum pumps connected to separate well-fields of up to 16 recovery wells. Each well was equipped with a submersible groundwater pump and placed under high vacuum concurrent with pumping to expose fracture intervals to vapor extraction.
Over a two-year period, the FE ACTIVE system dewatered and vacuumed an interval soil and rock between 15 and 90 ft below the ground surface, over an approximately 10,000 sq ft area, and extracted approximately 400 lbs of PCE equivalent mass from site groundwater. In addition, traditional SVE of vadose zone soils using the same high vacuum systems removed an additional 200 lbs of PCE from site soils. The successful removal of the source mass resulted in the containment of the PCE plume to the site and allowed the site to apply for closure based on risk assessment showing the remaining contaminants would remain onsite and naturally attenuate.