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Slag from Sharon Steel to be Reused Under Innovative Agreement

Release Date: 9/20/2000
Contact Information: Ruth Wuenschel, (215) 814-5540

Ruth Wuenschel, 215-814-5540

FARRELL, Pa. – Abandoned slag heaps will soon be removed from the Sharon Steel Farrell Works Superfund site here and reused in construction and road projects, under a new agreement with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Recycling the slag will kick-start the productive reuse of this abandoned property in Mercer County.

The new “prospective purchaser agreement” protects the site’s buyer from lawsuits and cleanup costs for any existing contamination, while ensuring that the buyer’s operations do not interfere with EPA’s cleanup. In exchange, the community gains environmental and economic benefits of reusing the property, including job creation and tax revenues.

Farrell Slag Inc. and Shenango Valley Manufacturing Co. were top bidders for a 200-acre portion of the site located south of Ohio Street and west of the Shenango River, which is covered with slag. Farrell Slag, Inc. submitted the high bid for the project, and Shenango Valley Manufacturing Co. submitted the next highest bid, which will be accepted if Farrell Slag cannot finalize the sale.

Sharon Steel used the 400-acre site for steel production since the early 1900s and went bankrupt in 1987. EPA placed the property on the Superfund cleanup list of hazardous waste sites in 1998 after finding arsenic, chromium, and lead contamination in the groundwater and soil. More than 100 acres of wetlands and ponds are potentially affected by the contamination left from the companies’ slag disposal activities.

EPA determined that the removal and reuse of the slag would provide a public benefit by significantly reducing the extent and expense of EPA’s current cleanup. As a result, EPA will not have to consolidate and cap the removed material as part of its site cleanup, resulting in estimated savings of $2 to $5 million. The reuse of the slag will not pose any health risk to the public, as it will comply with all state and federal regulations.

“These innovative agreements have resulted in more efficient cleanups of contaminated sites and substantial benefits to surrounding communities nationwide,” said Bradley M.. Campbell, administrator for EPA’s Mid-Atlantic Region. “This site can become a tax-generator for Mercer County instead of an abandoned eyesore and environmental threat.”

The identical prospective purchaser agreements with Farrell Slag and Shenango Valley Manufacturing Co. require that the successful buyer give EPA unrestricted access to the property for cleanup, and reimburse EPA $40,000 used to finance work at the site and its expenses for developing the agreements.


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