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Record of Decision System (RODS)



Address:  RD 8348 
City & State:  SPRING TOWNSHIP  PA  19608
County:  BERKS
EPA ID:  PAD000651810
EPA Region:  03
NPL Status:  Currently on the Final NPL
ROD Type:  Record of Decision
ROD ID:  EPA/541/R-97/058
ROD Date:  07/22/1997
Operable Unit(s):  01
Media:  groundwater,soil,surface water,sediment,leachate air
Contaminant:  VOCs, SVOC, semivolatiles, metals, PAHs, aluminum, arsenic, beryllium cadmium, copper, lead, manganese, nickel, vanadium, barium, benzene, carbon disulfide, chlorobenzene, chloromethene, 1,4-dichlorobenzene, total-1,2-dichloroethene, hexachloroetheane, trichloroethene, benzene, vinyl chloride, trichloroethene, 1,2 dichloroethene, 1,1 dichloroethene, chloroform, 1,2-dichloroethane, 1,1,2-trichloroethane, benzo(a)pyrene, chloroethane, ethylbenzene, hydrogen sulfide, toluene, trichloroethene, total xylenes, dichlorodiflouromethane, 1,2,4-trimethylbenzene, 1,3,5-trimethylbenzene, iron, PCBS, Aroclor-1248, methane, chlorinated VOCs and CFCs, xylenes, ethylbenzene, total xylenes, NMOCs, phenol, chloromethane, bromomethane, trichloroethene, total
Abstract:  The Berks Landfill site is located in Spring Township, Berks County, Pennsylvania, approximately 2 1/3 miles southwest of the Borough of Sinking Spring and approximately 7 miles southwest of the City of Reading. Berks County has a population of approximately 324,300. The majority of the site is designated for industrial use, because the land was previously devoted to landfilling activities. Two residential properties and a business are located on the site along Wheatfield Road. The areas surrounding the site are predominantly agricultural/open space and residential areas. Sparse residential properties occur along Wheatfield, Gelsinger, and Chapel Hill Roads in the site vicinity. The area has historically been forested or farmed with some residential development, particularly east of the site, and such development has become more prevalent within recent years.Within a 3-mile radius of the site, approximately 26,495 people utilize either public or private groundwater wells as a water supply. In the immediate vicinity of the landfill, water is supplied by private groundwater well systems. The water from local residential wells is also used for filling in ground swimming pools. A farm is located southwest of the site and utilizes groundwater for agricultural purposes (dairy farming). A residential well and a business well are located on-site. No contaminants were detected in the five rounds of residential well sampling conducted as part of the remedial investigation on or in the vicinity of the site at unsafe concentrations. The Citizens Utilities Water Authority Well No. 23 is the closest public water supply well to the site. The well is located approximately ½ mile east of the site at the intersection of Grings Hill Road and Wheatfield Road. This well services Grings Hill Estate, Tallowyck, Wheaton Heights, Shiloh Hills, and extended areas of Cumru and Spring Townships. This well is hydrologically isolated from the site. The site consists of two closed municipal refuse landfills and associated features located south of Wheatfield Road, which includes the groundwater plume and property necessary to implement the selected remedy. The two landfills are referred to as the eastern landfill, which covers an area of approximately 19 acres. There are two other disposal areas that received mostly municipal waste when access to the eastern and western landfills were impossible to access due to inclement weather. The northern disposal area is located north of the access road at the toe of the eastern landfill. There is an existing leachate management system at the site that consists of a series of collection pipes at the toe of the eastern landfill and a small portion of the western landfill. Conveyance piping and manholes carry leachate to three hyphalon-lined gravity-fed leachate collection lagoons. Leachate is then pumped from these lagoons by an automatic dual pump station to the Sinking Spring Borough Publicly Operated Treatment Works. Landfilling of predominantly municipal refuse and demolition debris began in the 1950s and continued through 1986 on the eastern landfill. From approximately 1975 to 1986, landfilling was conducted under a Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Resources (PADER) permit. The southeastern portion of the eastern landfill is referred to as the Wood Dump due to the large amount of trees, stumps, and other construction debris places. Former industrial employees reported that industrial waster, including hazardous substances, were also disposed of at the Wood Dump. The northeastern portion of the eastern landfill covers the abandoned Wheatfield Mine Workings which, as reported by former landfill employees, were filled with low permeability soil prior to landfilling. The eastern landfill was closed in 1986, as required by PADER, and covered with a vegetated soil cap. The soil cap consists of a compacted low permeability graded soil cover with erosion control side slope benches and rip-rap lined channels to convey surface water off of the landfill. According to former landfill employees, the western landfill received predominantly municipal refuse. Landfilling activities occurred there from the 1960s until the mid 1970s. In 1979 and 1980, the western landfill also received some industrial waste and alkali sludges. The sludges were stabilized and disposed of in the south central portion of the landfill. Following closure during the 1970s, the western landfill was covered with a graded, low permeability soil cap. The side slopes of the landfill, which were closed in the early to mid 1970s, are currently covered by deciduous woodlands with trees estimated to be up to 20 years old. The crown of the landfill in the Stabatol (south central) portion of the landfill was capped in 1980 and is currently covered with grass and brush vegetation.In 1986, landfilling at the site ceased and the landfill was closed in accordance with a consent order issued by PADER. Response systems constructed at the site during landfill operations or during landfill closure include the following: a compacted low permeability soil liner beneath the permitted portion of the eastern landfill; a leachate collection system; three hyphalon-lined leachate storage lagoons and one low permeability soil-lined lagoon for additional storage capacity; and a graded low permeability soil cap over each landfill. Sampling of on-site monitoring wells installed prior to and during closure of the eastern landfill showed that on-site groundwater was contaminated with volatile organic compounds (VOCs) including, benzene, vinyl chloride, trichloroethene, 1,2 dichloroethene, and 1,1 dichloroethene. No pesticide compounds were detected in any of the twenty-two background and on-site soil samples. Only one polychlorinated biphenyl (PCB), Aroclor-1248, was detected, but at safe levels. Metals were frequently detected. Background and non-leachate impacted soils showed very similar concentrations, while leachate-impacted soil showed higher concentrations. However, except for selenium, the metals detected in both background and on-site soil samples were within the range of typical background soils for the eastern United States. On August 7,1990, EPA issued an order requiring potentially responsible parties to implement the following removal actions, which have been completed: construction of an 8-foot high chain-link security fence and locking gates surrounding the eastern landfill and lined leachate collection lagoons; and repairs to approximately 1 ½ acres of the existing landfill cap on the eastern landfill which was damaged by erosion, installation, operation, and maintenance of an automatic leachate management system that pumps leachate from the hyphalon-lined lagoons to the Spring Township sewerage system. The operation of maintenance of the leachate management system will continue until a final remedy for the site is selected and implemented.
Remedy:  The selected remedy addresses threats posed by the release of hazardous substances at the site. The threats posed by the site are due to VOC and metals contamination in on-site groundwater. The remedy addresses on-site groundwater contamination with natural containment through institutional controls; natural attenuation and existing site-specific hydrogeologic conditions in conjunction with long-term monitoring; continued existing leachate management system repair, operation, and maintenance; and repairs to the existing landfill caps. The selected remedy includes the following major components: institutional controls, including title restrictions, restrictive covenants, etc. to prevent future consumption of on-site groundwater, restrict future development at the site, and limit future earth moving activities at the site; long-term monitoring, including installation of a sentinel monitoring well cluster, sampling of residential wells, on-site monitoring wells, aquatic habitats, and combustible gases; leachate management system operation and maintenance; cap repair and maintenance, to include a minimum 1 foot in final cover thickness on the eastern landfill; and maintenance of non-forested portions of the western landfill, which will be maintained as wildflower/grass meadow (mowed once per year). Forested portions of western landfill will remain and be maintained.
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