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Ruth Podems, (215) 814-5540
PHILADELPHIA -- The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has completed cleanup construction at 13 more of Pennsylvania’s most hazardous Superfund sites this year.
Construction completion occurs when 1) all physical construction has been completed at a site, such as a protective cap over a landfill or a groundwater treatment system; 2) all immediate hazardous waste threats are under control; and 3) all long-term threats have been addressed.
For instance, if a groundwater treatment system has been installed, but it will take decades to pump out and treat the contaminated water, construction is deemed complete at the site, even though the groundwater is not yet clean.
EPA uses its extensive resources, personnel and technology to clean up the largest, most complex hazardous waste sites in each state. This year’s 13 construction completions brings to 56 the number of sites where construction has been completed out of a total 114 Superfund sites in Pennsylvania.
To date, EPA has finished 670 construction completions across the country, surpassing the national cleanup goal. Wherever possible, the agency has ensured responsible parties perform the cleanups. These parties are performing more than 70 percent of the ongoing long-term cleanups, saving taxpayers over $1.2 billion in Pennsylvania alone.
The construction completion sites include Revere Chemical Company, Bucks County; Stanley Kessler, Montgomery County; Strasburg Landfill, Chester County; Austin Avenue, Delaware County; Bell Landfill, Bradford County; East Mt. Zion Landfill, York County; Heleva Landfill and Dorney Road Landfill, Lehigh County; Bally Groundwater, Berks County; Industrial Drive Landfill, Northampton County; Ohio River Park and Lindane Dump, Allegheny County; and C&D Recycling, Luzerne County. In addition to construction completions, since the start of the Superfund program, more than 350 emergency response actions have been taken throughout Pennsylvania to remove immediate threats to public health and the environment. To learn more about each of these and other Pennsylvania hazardous waste sites, visit EPA’s Region 3 website at http://www.epa.gov/reg3hwmd/super/pa.htm.
Located in Nockamixon Township, Bucks County, Revere Chemical Company site was a former acid, metal and plating waste processing operation where liquid wastes were stored on site in unlined lagoons. Today, the former waste processing area will become a home for native grasses and wildflowers, providing valuable habitat for migratory birds and other wildlife.
In Montgomery County, the Stanley Kessler Company, Inc. degreases and repackages welding wire. Past operating practices resulted in solvent degreasers spilling into floor drains that fed into an underground septic tank and a cesspool with no structural bottom.
Solvents and heavy metals were found in on-site monitoring wells and various solvents in an off-site private well downhill from the Strasburg Landfill in Chester County. The same contaminants were discovered in liquids leaching from the site. Later in the year, the commonwealth closed operations at the landfill.
The Austin Avenue Radiation site has 40 properties located in various Delaware County boroughs. These properties were contaminated by a radium processing company disposing of radioactive materials. Radium tailings resulting from these plant operations were mixed with materials used to construct buildings or used for fill material at various Delaware County properties.
Bell Landfill in Terry Township had been closed by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania for numerous permit violations related to leachate collection and the fill material cover. Despite efforts by the landfill’s owner to contain the contamination, several leachate seeps developed from the disposal areas.
Another landfill was completed in York County -- East Mt. Zion located in Springettsbury. The privately owned, inactive 10-acre waste disposal site accepted municipal and industrial waste, including electroplating sludges, for 17 years. After extensive legal action, the site was closed in 1972.
The Heleva Landfill in Lehigh County consists of approximately 26 acres on a 93-acre parcel of land. In the late 1800s, the area was a large open-pit iron ore mining operation, which left four open, water-filled pits. Two of these pits are on site and were covered by a landfill. Industrial wastes, including solvents, were sent to the site when it beginning in 1967.
Dorney Road Landfill is located in Upper Macungie Township, Lehigh County, with a small portion of the site extending into Longswamp Township in Berks County. Dorney Road was an open-pit iron mine before it became a 27-acre municipal and industrial landfill from 1952 to 1978.
In Berks County, the Bally Groundwater Contamination site had groundwater contamination around a plant that manufactures urethane-insulated panels for refrigeration, located approximately 1,000 feet from a well where volatile organic compounds were found. The copany and its predecessor used lagoons on the property to dispose of spent solvents for five years.
Located in Williams Township, Northampton County, the Industrial Lane site began as an unlined landfill in 1961 and accepted miscellaneous wastes until it was taken over and operated as a permitted landfill until 1988. Past industrial uses include iron ore extraction and iron work operations.
Ohio River Park is located on the western end of Neville Island, in Allegheny County. The 32-acre site served as a municipal waste landfill for Neville Township from the 1930s until the mid-1950s. Trenches were dug to dispose of wastes, including coking sludges, cement production wastes and pesticides.
Also in Allegheny County is the Lindane Dump, consisting of a 14-acre recreational park and a 43-1/2-acre lower project zone that includes a closed landfill area. About 400 tons of powdered lindane pesticide waste and other industrial wastes were dumped at the site from 1900 to 1950.
The 45-acre C & D Recycling site in Luzerne County operated as a metal reclamation plant from the 1960s to early 1980s. The company incinerated lead and plastic-cased telephone cables or burned them in pits, in order to melt off the lead and reclaim the copper wire. Plastic coverings were mechanically stripped before incineration, and stored on site in piles. Tests found high concentrations of lead and copper present in the ash piles, soil, burn pit and drainage pathway areas on the site.