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Record of Decision System (RODS)



Address:  469 SHARPSVILLE AVE 
City & State:  SHARON  PA  16146
County:  MERCER
EPA ID:  PAD005000575
EPA Region:  03
NPL Status:  Currently on the Final NPL
ROD Type:  Record of Decision
ROD ID:  EPA/541/R-00/063
ROD Date:  02/18/2000
Operable Unit(s):  01
Abstract:  The site includes the former Westinghouse Electric Company Sharon Transformer Plant, which is located along the
west side of Sharpsville Avenue in Sharon, Pennsylvania. The property upon which the former Westinghouse plant was
located occupies nearly 58 acres and is located within the Shenango River Valley. The Shenango River flows in a northto-
south direction and varies from 800 feet to 2000 feet to the west of the former plant. The former plant property is
approximately one mile in length along a north-south axis and is between 200 and 800 feet wide. The ground surface of
the site is generally flat with a gentle slope from north to south, and ranges from 860 to 900 feet above mean sea level.
Currently, most of the former plant surface is under roof or is covered with pavement and/or concrete building
foundations, except for a narrow area (called the "moat area") in the southwest portion of the site. For the purposes of
the environmental investigations, the site was divided into three areas: the South Sector, the Middle Sector, and the
North Sector. A Pennsylvania Lines, LLC property (formerly owned by Conrail), which contains contaminated soils, is
considered to be part of the site. This property extends along the western border of the property occupied by the former
transformer plant.

The area east of the site is primarily urban residential, while the area to the west, between the site and the Shenango
River, varies from commercial, institutional, recreational, and light to heavy industrial. Today the area is part of an
industrial expansion program under the direction of the Shenango Valley Industrial Development Corporation and Penn
Northwest Development Corporation. This area, including the former transformer plant, has been the site of
commercial, rail, and industrial activities since the mid-1800s.

Westinghouse purchased the plant property from the Savage Arms Corporation in 1922. For a period of over 60 years, the former Sharon Transformer Plant primarily produced distribution transformers, power transformers, and related electrical apparatus until its shutdown in 1984. Some of the transformers produced at the plant were liquid-cooled and approximately 98 percent of those were filled with highly refined mineral oil. Approximately 2 percent were filled with either a silicone fluid or a commercially produced dielectric fluid called Inerteen.

In addition to Inerteen and transformer oil, several other chemicals are known to have been used at the site. These include six volatile organic compounds (VOCs): ethyl acetate; methyl ethyl ketone; toluene; xylene; trichloroethylene; and 1,1,1-trichloroethane. The latter two materials were used in metal cleaning and degreasing operations at several locations onsite. Metal cleaning was also accomplished by acid or phosphatizing-bath processes. Leftover material from these processes was piped to a neutralization facility where it was treated. Other materials, which were used at the site included paints, varnishes, and small amounts of flammable liquids and cyanide. Over the decades of operations at the plant, leakages, and spills of the various materials resulted in contamination of the site soils, the groundwater, and the sediments in the Shenango River.

Since the use of Inerteen was discontinued in 1976, Westinghouse decontaminated, removed, and/or scrapped the entire Inerteen storage and distribution system. Also, from 1976 through 1986, several cleanup actions were undertaken by Westinghouse including: 1) The excavation and offsite disposal of more than 7,800 tons of soil contaminated with PCBs, including soil from the removal of five underground storage tanks and from the cleanup of a spill of approximately 6,750 gallons of a PCB-contaminated mixture of transformer oil and a petroleum distillate in the moat area; 2) The removal and landfill disposal of 60 cubic yards of PCB-contaminated fly ash from two settling tanks and a hot well; 3)The recovery and incineration of 104 gallons of a PCB liquid that were discovered in a concrete sump; and 4) The removal, shredding, and incineration of more than 4,500 PCB-containing capacitors.

In addition, Westinghouse completed a number of cleanups that involved various surface areas including basements, floors, cisterns, hot wells, cold wells, varnish tanks, underground storage tanks and pits. These cleanups were undertaken to reduce or, in some specific instances, to eliminate concentrations of residual PCBs and other potential contaminants. However, on a site-wide basis, sufficient concentrations of contaminants remain which continue to pose a significant threat to the public health and welfare and the environment.
Remedy:  For the purpose of soils remediation at the site, EPA will define the term "surface soil" to include all soils from the ground surface to a depth of two (2) feet. "Subsurface soils" will be defined as soils below a depth of two feet. To address the contamination in these soils EPA's selected remedy combines portions of the various alternatives discussed previously with additional alternatives developed by EPA. The following remediation scenarios are EPA's selected remedy for the various areas of the soil onsite:

Railroad Property Surface Soils and Adjoining Soil Areas West of the Middle Sector Buildings

All areas of the railroad property having total PCB concentrations of 25 ppm or greater (to approximately correspond with a 3 x 10E-6 carcinogenic risk level), arsenic concentrations greater than 104 ppm (to correspond with the 1 x 10E-5 carcinogenic risk level), or lead (Pb) concentrations greater than 1,000 ppm in the upper 10 inches of the surface soils will have the contaminated soil removed to the full depth of 10 inches. In the soil interval from ten inches to 24 inches, all soil will be excavated where the concentrations of PCBs exceed 71 ppm (to correspond with the 1 x 10E-5 carcinogenic risk level); and arsenic exceeds 104 ppm; and/or lead (Pb) exceeds 1000 ppm. It is assumed that benzo[a]pyrene and dioxin, which were also detected on the railroad property in low concentrations, will be remediated as a result of the remediation of the soils for the other contaminants. These cleanup actions will reduce the current carcinogenic risk (1.1 x 10E-4) posed by all contaminants of concern to acceptable levels. The current non-carcinogenic Hazard Index (11.5) will be reduced to less than one (1.0).

The excavated materials will be disposed of offsite, and the excavations will be backfilled with clean fill material. In order to meet the requirements of the Land Disposal Restrictions promulgated under the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act, treatment of any soil currently overlain with serviceable railroad track on top of stone ballast will not be excavated because it is assumed that the stone ballast provides a protective cover between the potentially-contaminated soil underlying the ballast and potential receptors.

Deed restrictions (e.g., easements and covenants, title notices and land use restrictions through orders from or agreements with EPA) will be implemented in order to provide for worker safety, limit soil disturbance, prevent the installation or use of groundwater wells and prevent use of the site for residential purposes.

Because the railroad property soils were sampled only on the east side of the tracks for the Remedial Investigation, sampling to characterize the soils on the west side of the tracks will be done as a Pre-Design or Design activity. Remediation scenarios for those soils will be the same as for the railroad property soils on the east side of the tracks.

Moat Surface and Subsurface Soils

Existing moat surface and subsurface soils exceeding 689 ppm PCBs will be excavated and disposal of offsite. Because of the presence of a storm water sewer line which runs the length of the moat, and because soil excavations might have the potential to damage that line, the actual depth of excavations will be determined as part of the Remedial Design. In order to meet the requirements of the Land Disposal Restrictions promulgated under the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act, treatment of any soil that fails the TCLP for lead or arsenic will be required prior to land disposal of that soil. The moat will be covered with at least two (2) feet of clean fill materials (containing less than 1 ppm PCBs), or with at least 14 inches of fill materials, excavated from other areas onsite.
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