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EPA Secures $6 Million For Ryeland Road Cleanup

Release Date: 06/29/2006
Contact Information: David Sternberg, (215) 814-5548

PHILADELPHIA - The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency today announced that $6 million will be spent in 2006 for cleanup activities at the Ryeland Road Arsenic Superfund Site in Heidelberg Township, Berks County, Pa.

The agency will use the funds to purchase and demolish the homes of three families who currently reside on properties contaminated with potentially dangerous levels of arsenic and lead. The agency will also excavate soils from a fourth property this year that will be used as a staging area for future excavations.

Next year, after the families are relocated, EPA will excavate soils from the properties so that they meet federal standards for residential properties.

EPA plans to excavate approximately 94,000 tons of contaminated soil to a depth of 15 feet. The soil in some spots at the site currently contains more than100,000 parts per million (ppm) of arsenic and 80,000 ppm of lead. The residential standard is12 ppm for arsenic and 450 ppm for lead.

In 2008, the agency plans to excavate 4,200 tons of contaminated sediments from a nearby creek and downstream park in nearby Womelsdorf.

The site is located on approximately 7.3 acres of land on both sides of West Ryeland Road. From 1927 until 1940, Standard Chemical Works Corporation and Allegheny Chemical Corporation made pesticides fungicides, paints, and varnishes and disposed of wastes at the site. The plant burned down in 1940, leaving the site contaminated with arsenic and lead.

Exposure to arsenic at high levels is potentially fatal. Arsenic at lower levels over a long period is considered to be a probable human carcinogen.