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Watson Johnson Landfill Proposed for Superfund Hazardous Site List

Release Date: 6/14/2001
Contact Information: Ruth Wuenschel, (215) 814-5540

Ruth Wuenschel, (215) 814-5540

PHILADELPHIA - The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency today proposed to add the Watson Johnson Landfill near Quakertown, Pa. to the Superfund National Priorities List (NPL) of hazardous waste sites. Locally, EPA also added the Lower Darby Creek Area site located partially in Darby Twp. and partially in Philadelphia, and proposed to add the Valmont TCE site near Hazleton, Pa. Nationwide, EPA is adding 10 sites to the NPL and proposing to add another 10 sites.

The NPL is a national list of sites where contaminants have impacted or might impact public health or the environment. NPL sites undergo a thorough investigation of the nature and extent of the contamination. EPA or the parties responsible for the contamination then take appropriate actions to address whatever risks the sites pose.

Watson Johnson Landfill is located along E. Pumping Station Rd., west of Richlandtown Pike (Route 212), in Richland Township, Bucks County. The 32-acre landfill operated from 1936 to 1973, accepting municipal and industrial wastes, including 3,200 tons of waste from W.R. Grace & Company’s Quakertown chemical plant. Groundwater samples from on-site monitoring wells indicate that trichloroethylene (TCE), a solvent, and other contaminants are present in the groundwater at the landfill. A pair of nearby Quakertown Borough wells along Heller Rd. are contaminated with TCE, so that the water must be treated prior to distribution.

EPA recently began another, more comprehensive round of residential well sampling to further investigate the nature and extent of contamination. The results of this sampling are not yet available.

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Waton-Johnson – 6/14/01
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The proposal to add the site to the NPL begins a 60-day public comment period, during which time the public may provide comment or additional information about the site. EPA will respond to the public’s input, and if there are no errors in the proposal, the site will then be added to the list. The public comment period begins June 14 and ends August 13. Public comments must be submitted in writing, including an original plus three copies, to: Docket Coordinator, U.S. EPA Headquarters, CERCLA Docket Office, Mail Code 5201G, 401 M St. SW, Washington, DC 20460.

Documents related to the NPL proposal may be reviewed at the James A. Michener Library of the Bucks County Free Library System, located at 229 California Rd. in Quakertown. The proposal documents are also available for review at the EPA Region III Superfund Docket in Philadelphia. For additional information, please contact the Region III Docket at (215) 814-5364. Some proposal documents are also available on the Internet at www.epa.gov/superfund/new/newnpl.

EPA will hold a public meeting about the proposal to add the Watson Johnson Landfill to the NPL on Tuesday, June 26 at 7:00 pm, at the St. John’s Lutheran Church, located at First Ave. and West Union St. in Richlandtown. For more information about this meeting, please contact Richard Kuhn, Community Involvement Coordinator, at (215) 814-3063.

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