– EPA Region 7 function –
By Alyssa Cole, Public Affairs Bureau
It has been over 100 years since Carter Carburetor Corporation opened its doors as a manufacturing facility in St. Louis. After final formwork in 1984 following a shift in the auto industry, the property stood vacant for years while local and state partners worked to clean up pollution on the site.
In September 2020, EPA Region 7 joined the community to celebrate a successful cleanup that prepared the revitalization of the site as a youth sports facility for the Boys & Girls Club.
What was once a threat to the environment now serves the Boys & Girls Club of Greater St. Louis as a youth golf training and mentoring facility. In cooperation with the Gateway PGA REACH organization, they will build the system on most of the site. The St. Louis Land Reutilization Authority (St. Louis Land Reutilization Authority) is leaving a portion of the site that it plans to develop into a pollinator park, urban prairie, or community garden to help reuse the surrounding area.
In its heyday, the Carter Carburetor was an energetic manufacturing facility spanning 480,000 square feet in the heart of the city. The plant housed numerous buildings for offices, testing and manufacturing of carburetors for gasoline and diesel engines.
William Carter founded the company in 1909. The famous St. Louis architect Hugo K. Graf later designed the factory, which was built in 1915 on 10 acres on North Spring Avenue. Carter stayed with the company until 1924 when he sold it to the American Car and Foundry Company (ACF).
During his tenure, Carter Carburetor supplied parts to major corporations in the United States, including Chevrolet, Buick, Oldsmobile, Chrysler, and Packard.
As a major employer in St. Louis with over 3,000 workers, the company created the WWII-era YS waterproof single-cylinder carburetor and the first four-cylinder carburetor on the market.
The company supplied carburetors until 1984 when ACF closed the plant after automakers switched from carburetors to electronic fuel injection. The property was then transferred to the Land Reutilization Authority of St. Louis.
Impurities left behind
Contaminants found at the site include polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), trichlorethylene (TCE), and asbestos. The EPA took steps to remedy the situation, including demolishing the former die-cast building and placing a temporary cap on the die-cast floors; Construction of a security fence to prevent people from being exposed who entered the former dilapidated buildings; and asbestos and rubble removal to prepare the buildings for demolition.
In 2013, the EPA signed a $ 35 million settlement agreement with ACF Industries Inc. to pave the way for site renovation, building demolition and ultimately productive reuse.
The cleanup of the site began that year with the removal of asbestos and hazardous debris from the buildings on the property. The demolition and removal of the buildings began in 2015. Additional waste disposal, on-site waste treatment and other cleanup operations continued in 2017. EPA and ACF completed the site work in May 2020. As part of the site cleanup, ACF led the removal through measures to fix dilapidated buildings on site that were heavily contaminated with PCBs and asbestos.
Cleaning up for the future
Federal, state and local partners celebrated the completion of the decades-long cleanup at the Boys & Girls Club of Greater St. Louis on September 16, 2020.
Attendees at the event included EPO Administrator Andrew Wheeler; EPO Region 7 Administrator Jim Gulliford; William Lacy Clay, US Representative for District 1, Missouri; Dr. Flint Fowler, president of the Boys & Girls Club of Greater St. Louis; Wendell Kimbrough, Area Resources for Community and Human Services CEO; and Ozzie Smith, Gateway PGA REACH President.
“Today is a historic day, not just for St. Louis, but also for the Boys & Girls Club and the entire community,” said Dr. Fowler. “Today we will be signing the prospective buyer contract with the EPA that will provide the Boys & Girls Club with the appropriate protection while we secure the ACF land and develop a project that will benefit our program.”
“Moving this property to the Boys & Girls Club will allow them to add another experience to the community children – the experience of learning the sport of golf and all of the disciplines and skills required to play golf,” said Gulliford.
“It’s exciting to see a concrete concept develop from a conversation,” said Kimbrough. “We will now have a wonderful new place that will bring young people closer to a game that they can play between the ages of 10 and 100. It also gives us an opportunity to remove an eyesore and create a fun place for young people to play. “
At the event, Administrator Wheeler announced the completion of the cleanup of the Carter Carburetor Superfund property and transferred ownership to the Boys & Girls Club of Greater St. Louis, which will work with Gateway PGA REACH to plan and mentor the construction of the youth golf training -Facility.