The site, located in Front Royal, Virginia, is situated in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains. During the 1920s, the site was primarily used for agriculture with orchards along the Shenandoah River and field crops towards the inland areas. In the late 1930s plant construction was initiated with fiber manufacturing operations beginning in 1940. Over the course of 49 years, the plant was used to manufacture fibers such as rayon, polyester, and polypropylene. In 1989, all manufacturing operations were permanently shut down.

From 1940 though 1962, American Viscose owned the facility. FMC Corporation (FMC) owned the plant from 1963 until 1976. In 1976, Avtex Fibers, Inc. (Avtex) purchased the Site from FMC and continued manufacturing operations until 1989, when Avtex closed the plant and declared bankruptcy. Avtex's bankruptcy trustee currently controls the Site. FMC does not own any portion of the Site.

In 1986, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) added the Site to its National Priorities List (NPL) of hazardous waste sites to be cleaned up under the Superfund program. Beginning in 1986, Avtex, and later FMC, conducted certain investigations and clean-up actions at the Site. Since 1989, EPA has been conducting various removal and remedial actions.

In 1997, EPA began conducting a Removal Action to demolish approximately 17 acres of buildings. As each building was demolished, EPA placed the debris into piles. The piles include recyclable materials (like copper piping, aluminum, and steel), potentially unaffected materials that may be available for use as fill on Site (like brick and concrete), and materials mixed with compounds (such as lead) regulated by the
Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) and Superfund.

Currently, building removal actions are continuing with building debris being trucked off site for disposal at EPA approved landfills. The remaining buildings are being inspected before demolition to record and document potentially hazardous building areas and materials. Areas found to be potentially hazardous will be demolished and disposed of in accordance with EPA guidelines. Sampling and removal of waste material (stockpiles, sludge, and former manufacturing by-products) is proceeding in accordance with the site Consent Decree. Basin closure activities include the design of passive recreation areas to occupy the current area of the former Wastewater Treatment, Sulfate and Viscose Basins.


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Sue Riner-Biggs (email:

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