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Philip Services Corporation (a/k/a ThermalKEM) Site--Potential Human Health Risk

DHEC conducted a detailed baseline human health risk assessment of the Philip Services Corporation Site as part of the Remedial Investigation.  Our goal was to quantify potential risks to human health and the environment posed by the Site's contaminated soil and groundwater in the absence of remedial actions.

The investigation concluded the contamination may pose potential cancer and non-cancer hazards above acceptable standards for hypothetical future users of the facility.

No cancer or non-cancer hazards above acceptable standards to off-property receptors were identified.

"Pathway" Concerns

We are principally concerned about:

  • Exposure to contaminated soils by ingestion.
  • Exposure to chlorinated volatile organic compounds (VOCs) in groundwater through drinking water ingestion
  • Exposure by inhalation of VOCs originating from groundwater through indoor air (also called vapor intrusion).

For more information, read our Remedial Investigation Report from September 2008. 

Contaminants of Concern

A comprehensive sampling conducted by DHEC determined the contaminants of concern (COCs) are:

  • Chlorinated ethenes and ethanes (CEE):   chloroethane; 1,1-dichloroethane; 1,2- dichloroethane; 1,1-dichloroethene; cis-1,2-dichloroethene; 1,1,2,2- tetrachloroethane; tetrachloroethene; 1,1,1- trichloroethane; trichloroethene; 1,1,2- trichloroethane; and vinyl chloride.
  • Chlorinated benzenes (CB):  chlorobenzene; 1,2-dichlorobenzene; 1,3- dichlorobenzene; 1,4-dichlorobenzene; 1,2,3-trichlorobenzene; and 1,2,4- trichlorobenzene. 
  • BTEX:  benzene, toluene, ethylbenzene, and xylene.

DHEC assessed whether residents or workers might be at risk from harmful groundwater vapors in the buildings, but we found that vapor intrusion did not pose a threat to residents or workers. A groundwater extraction and treatment (pump and treat) system was installed by the operators in 1988. The pump and treat system treats contaminated groundwater and discharges to the waste water treatment plant.  After Philip Services' bankruptcy filing, DHEC continued to operate the system—and upgraded the system in 2005 to increase efficiency.

No other neighboring properties are affected by the soil and groundwater contamination. The Remedial Investigation has indicated that the 108-acre parcel that was owned by the facility operators is not contaminated.