Historical Timeline

  • 1929 : DuPont acquires 153 acres in Waynesboro, Virginia as a manufacturing site for Rayon, the world's first synthetic fiber. Mercury was used in Rayon production.
  • 1929 - 1939 : Despite the depression era, demand for Rayon increases and the DuPont plant expands.
  • 1950 : Rayon production continues but mercury is no longer used.
  • 1976 : DuPont discovers mercury in soil on the plant site during construction activities and initiates studies to determine potential river impacts, marking the first collaborative effort between DuPont, regulatory agencies, academia, and stakeholders.
  • 1977 : The Virginia Department of Health institutes a fish consumption ban from Waynesboro to Front Royal that includes the South River, South Fork Shenandoah River, and part of the Shenandoah River.
  • 1980 : After data review, the fish consumption ban is replaced by a consumption advisory.
  • 1982 : Natural recovery and monitoring is recommended after an engineering evaluation of remediation options for the river.
  • 1984 : DuPont funds a 100-year monitoring program for fish, water, soil, and sediments.
  • 1985 - 1998 : Various state agencies work together to implement the monitoring program.
  • 1999 : An evaluation of the monitoring program data indicates that fish tissue mercury concentrations are not declining as predicted.
  • 2000 : The Virginia Department of Environmental Quality and DuPont agree to the concept of a South River Science Team, a collaborative effort to evaluate the mercury situation.
  • 2001 - Present : The South River Science Team holds its first meeting in 2001 and expands to include representatives from local, state, and federal agencies, academia, and environmental groups.
  • 2006 : The South River Science Team opens an information center and a field office on Main Street in Downtown Waynesboro.
  • 2009 : The South River Science Team stabilizes a riverbank within the City of Waynesboro to help prevent erosion and restore and expand the habitat.
  • With the assessment phase nearly complete, the South River Science Team shifts its focus to testing remedial actions.