The Wayne Reclamation and Recycling (WRR) site is located on approximately 27 acres of land on the southeast edge of Columbia City in Whitley County, Indiana. In 1975, WRR purchased 12 acres of the present site from the S.A. Sallot Company and 13.6 acres from the city (part of the old city landfill) and began operating an oil reclamation business, collecting waste oils which were treated by settling and decanting. In 1976, the Indiana Pollution Control Board issued WRR a license to transport industrial wastes. Several years later, in 1980, the Indiana State Board of Health investigated the WRR site and found that the facility had falsified the transport documents and had been illegally disposing of hazardous wastes on-site. WRR plead gUilty in 1982 to illegal dumping, and was ordered to pay a fine, fund a risk assessment of the site, and pay for cleanup costs. WRR. however, did not clean up the site, and the site was listed in December, 1982, on the National Priorities List (NPL).
A risk assessment was conducted between 1983 and 1984 by Beranek Associates, Inc. to determine the extent and fate of the contamination. Hazardous materials that were disposed of at this site consisted primarily of metal plating waste material, dried ink barrels, and various sludges that contained high levels of copper, nickel, cadmium, chromium, and cyanide. Several areas were identified as "hotspots" for contamination including a 4,680 square foot area covered with a tar-like substance, a small tar pit, and areas impacted by buried drums, oil and chemical spills, and chemical land applications. Many of these areas drain into nearby depressions that support marsh vegetation. In addition, a freshwater pond, a wetland on the northern portion of the site, and the Blue River have all been contaminated by improper hazardous waste disposal and the WRR site.
A Remedial Investigation(RI) was completed in 1989 and concluded that the site was contaminated with a variety of compounds. The primary contaminants of concern in the ground water were trichloroethane and vinyl chloride. Contaminants identified in the soils included polyaromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), and volatile organic compounds (VOCs). Other inorganic pollutants were detected at the site as well, including lead and cyanide.