China – Changsha Chromates Factory
Changsha chromium salt factory is located adjacent to the XiangJiang River in Changsha City, Hunan Province. In 2003, the factory was shut down. When in production, the factory’s main products were sodium acid chromate, chromic anhydride, chrome oxide green and other chromium products to be used in ceramic production, printing, electroplating, leather production and medicines.
At the time of shutdown, a great amount of chromium residues remained at the site. A large slag pile was located in a basin only 70 meters from the Xiangjiang River, covering an area of several hectares. The piles, with an estimated 420,000 tons of waste, were treated starting in 2005 to remove chromium, and the treated slag waste was deposited in a raised landfill on adjacent land northwest of the site.
The entire site is heavily contaminated with chromium, both trivalent and hexavalent. While the chromium slag has been treated and the residue placed in the landfill, it is clear that the soil at the site contains significant chromium. Groundwater is also heavily contaminated likely both from past discharges and continuing releases as rainwater picks up contamination, particularly hexavalent chromium, from the site soil.
To address this project, Pure Earth conducted significant sampling and formed a stakeholder group. Pure Earth advised local agencies and the company that now owns the site.
The purpose of this pilot project was to provide guidance to remediate the Changsha Chromates Factory. The overall objectives are to:
- Eliminate any risk of chromium (especially hexavalent chromium) contamination to the XiangJiang River.
- Eliminate risk to the surrounding public or future site users due to chromium contaminated soil, groundwater or dust.
- Allow redevelopment of the site as a natural area or a park.