Environmental Response and Revitalization Site Summary

Matlack, Inc.

The Matlack, Inc. site is located on approximately 8 acres at 250 Mill Street at the southeast edge of Pataskala, Ohio, in Licking County. Muddy Fork, a tributary of the Licking River, is located approximately 300 feet south of the site. One of Pataskala’s drinking water well fields is located less than 1,000 feet southeast of the site and south of Muddy Fork. The site was operated as a truck washing and maintenance facility from the 1950s to 1987. The Matlack trucks carried liquid chemical products and hazardous wastes for industry. Wastewater from the cleaning of the empty tanker trucks was directed to three former infiltration ponds and occasionally sprayed on to the ground. Releases from leaking underground storage tanks systems containing diesel fuel occurred at the site.

Two of the three infiltration ponds were located on the southeastern edge of the property. Numerous complaints were made in the 1960s and early 1970s regarding the ponds overflowing and impacting Muddy Fork. In 1972, use of these ponds was discontinued, and a third pond on the north end of the property was utilized as a holding pond for the wastewater until it was hauled off-site for disposal. This third pond was closed in 1980.

Due to a complaint of an oil sheen on Muddy Fork in 1979, it was discovered that a leaking underground storage tank system had caused a shallow ground water plume of diesel contamination to migrate from the site. Matlack constructed an interception trench and recovered free product from 1979 to 1981. After Matlack removed two underground storage tanks in 1981, they installed a recovery well in October 1982 and connected it to the existing oil-water separator system, which operated until they were no longer solvent. More than 10,000 gallons of diesel fuel have been recovered from the site.

After August 1981, Matlack began placing waste into three underground storage tanks. In 1987, Matlack moved their truck washing facility operations to Grove City. The incomplete closure of these tanks, as of 1991, led to Ohio EPA investigations in 1994 and 1995, revealing numerous contaminants present in soils, sediment and ground water at the site. As a result, Matlack entered into an administrative consent order with Ohio EPA on Oct. 29, 1996, to complete remedial investigation/feasibility study (RI/FS) activities. These activities were to define the nature and extent of contamination and determine potential clean-up alternatives to address any threats that may be present that could impact human health or the environment.

A work plan to conduct RI/FS activities was completed in October 1997. Preliminary investigations and a free product investigation for Pond 2 were conducted in 1998. The RI and installation of a free product recovery system at Pond 2 were completed in 1999. The system has since been shut down. 

A draft RI report was received in June 2001. A general summary of contaminants identified at the site includes various polynuclear aromatic hydrocarbons, phthalates, styrene, dichlorobenzene, chlorobenzene, trichloroethene, tetrachloroethene, toluene, ethylbenzene, xylene, vinyl chloride and 1,1,1-trichloroethane. Contaminants are primarily associated with the three former infiltration ponds, a wash rack area, and the leaking underground storage tanks. The RI identified that soil and shallow ground water in and around the source areas have been impacted by the contaminants. 

In March 2001, Matlack filed for protection under Chapter 11 bankruptcy for reorganization and later changed to Chapter 7 bankruptcy for liquidation of assets. Matlack is no longer in business and discontinued all RI/FS work at the site. Ohio EPA conducted a limited investigation of the former Pond 3 area in November 2003 to determine the extent of polychlorinated biphenyl (PCB) contamination in that area. The Attorney General of Ohio (AGO) filed a proof of claim with the bankruptcy trustee to recover costs for the assessment, remediation and response for the Matlack site. In July 2007, Ohio EPA was informed by the AGO that recovery of costs from the Matlack bankruptcy would be nominal.

In September 2007, Ohio EPA collected a round of ground water samples from existing site monitoring wells and installed soil borings using the Geoprobe™ rig for the collection and analysis of ground water samples and soil gas samples. A second phase of this investigation took place in November 2007 to further delineate the ground water contaminant plume and assess the soil vapor migration pathway. The results of these investigations confirmed that contaminated ground water has migrated across West Mill Street and is likely present below residential homes.

In November 2007, Ohio EPA continued the vapor intrusion investigation. Based on detections of 1,1,1-tricholroethane and tricholroethene in soil gas from nearby residential structures, sampling ports were installed below the basement floors of nearby residences and soil vapor samples were collected and analyzed from three residences. Due to the detections of several volatile organic compounds in these vapor samples and possible cross contamination issues, Ohio EPA decided to collect samples of indoor air in addition to the sub-slab vapors at these locations and to include one additional residential structure. 

During January 2008, Ohio EPA re-installed the sub-slab sampling ports and collected vapor and indoor air samples from three of four residential stuctures in close proximity to the source areas at the Matlack site. Ohio EPA was refused access to one of the residences. The results of this vapor intrusion investigation indicate that site-related volatile organic chemicals including 1,1,1-tricholroethane are present at levels that do not exceed risk levels. 

On April 1, 2008, during ambient monitoring program sampling of the Pataskala Water Plant No. 1 by Ohio EPA, Division of Drinking and Ground Waters, ground water samples from Pumping Wells PW-5, PW-7 and PW-8 were collected. The ground water did not contain detections of 1,4 -dioxane above the analytical detection limit in PW-5, PW-7 and PW-8 or detections of volatile organic chemicals above their respective analytical detection limits in PW-5 and PW-8. See Photograph 8 for the location of these municipal wells.

At this time, Ohio EPA continues to evaluate its enforcement options and to investigate the potential for ground water contaminants to migrate from the Matlack site to the municipal well field.

Photograph 1: Old Matlack sign on the fence at the facility’s entrance on Mill Street. Photograph taken on June 20, 2003.

Photograph 2: Removal of diesel fuel oil tank in early 1981.


Photograph 3: View of the parking lot and old building with a monitoring well in the foreground. Photograph taken on June 20, 2003.

Photograph 4. View of the former Pond 2 area with several monitoring wells and free product recovery well. Photograph taken on June 20, 2003.

Photograph 5. View of the former Pond 3 area. Photograph taken on June 20, 2003.

Photograph 6: Background air sample collection with site in background. Photograph taken in January 2008.

Photograph 7: 2007 Sampling Location Map (PDF) 

Photograph 8: 2008 Ground Water Flow Map

Summary date: January 2009