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Watson Johnson Landfill Finalized on Superfund Hazardous Site List

Release Date: 9/13/2001
Contact Information: David Sternberg, (215) 814-5548 & Ruth Wuenschel,(215) 814-5540

David Sternberg, (215) 814-5548 & Ruth Wuenschel,(215) 814-5540

PHILADELPHIA - The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency today finalized the addition of the Watson Johnson Landfill near Quakertown, Pa. on the Superfund National Priorities List (NPL) of hazardous waste sites.

Elsewhere in the mid-Atlantic region, EPA also finalized the addition of the Valmont TCE site near Hazleton, Pa., and proposed to add the Franklin Slag Pile site in Philadelphia, Pa. and the Curtis Bay Coast Guard Yard near Baltimore, Md. Nationwide, EPA is adding 17 sites to the NPL and proposing to add another 11 sites.

The NPL is a national list of sites where contaminants have impacted or could 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.

The 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 Road are contaminated with TCE, so that the water must be treated prior to distribution.

EPA had proposed to Watson Johnson Landfill to the NPL on June 14, 2001. A 60-day public comment period ended on August 13, 2001. Comments were received from a number of local residents and elected officials. All were in support of listing, although many also asked questions which EPA will seek to answer in the coming months.

Now that the Watson Johnson Landfill is finalized on the NPL, EPA will complete a comprehensive environmental investigation to determine how to clean up the site. For more information about EPA’s plans, please contact Ruth Wuenschel, community involvement coordinator, at (215) 814-5540. Documents related to the site investigation and cleanup will continue to be placed at the James A. Michener Library of the Bucks County Free Library System, located at 229 California Rd. in Quakertown, as they become available.