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Record of Decision System (RODS)



City & State:  JEFFERSON BOROUGH  PA  15025
EPA ID:  PAD063766828
EPA Region:  03
NPL Status:  Deleted from the Final NPL
ROD Type:  Record of Decision
ROD ID:  EPA/ROD/R03-95/204
ROD Date:  09/29/1995
Operable Unit(s):  02
Media:  groundwater
Contaminant:  Benzene, benzo(a)pyrene, ethylbenzene, 2-methylnaphthalene, 4-methylphenol, naphthalene, toluene, total xylenes
Abstract:  Please note that the text in this document summarizes the Record of Decision for the purposes of facilitating searching and retrieving key text on the ROD. It is not the officially approved abstract drafted by the EPA Regional offices. Once EPA Headquarters receives the official abstract, this text will be replaced.

The Resin Disposal site is located about « mile west of the town of West Elizabeth in Jefferson Borough, Pennsylvania. The site is approximately 26 acres in size. West Elizabeth is a mixed commercial, industrial, and residential area with a stable population. The site operated as a landfill between 1950 and 1964. The landfill is located in the head of a narrow valley on the site of a former coal mine and comprises slightly less than 2 of the 26 acres.

The site is surrounded by a suburban residential area to the north and west and by undeveloped property to the south and east. A trailer park and several residential homes are located approximately 1/4 mile southeast and downslope of the site. Coal was strip and deep mined from the nearby stream valley prior to 1950 in the area surrounding the site.

Although quantities of groundwater are available for domestic use in certain areas, the vast majority of the residents in the site area are connected to a public water supply. The Monongahela River is located about « mile from the site and is the water source for the public water system in the neighborhood. However, eight residential wells were identified within approximately 1 mile of the site. Most of these residents are also hooked up to the public water supply and use their private well as an alternative water supply for activities like washing their cars or watering their lawns.

Between 1950 and 1964, prior to the enactment of the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA), the Pennsylvania Industrial Chemical Corporation Plant (PICCO) generated and deposited an estimated 85,000 tons of production wastes into the on-site landfill. As a result of these activities, the site is also known as the PICCO Resin Landfill. The wastes consisted mainly of clay poly cakes and dechlor cakes, which are composed of petroleum and coal-derived chemicals mixed with clay. Total petroleum hydrocarbons (TPHs) compose approximately 6% of the waste. The waste was deposited in the landfill by dumping it down a topographic chute above the landfill as a wet viscous sludge. The waste was contained within the landfill behind two earthen dikes. No historical records exist of the actual types or quantities of waste deposited in the landfill.

Prior to 1950, the original coal was strip mined and deep mined on the site property. The deep mining was done through a process known as room and pillar mining, which resulted in mine coids throughout the site. At the location of the landfill, approximately 20 feet of waste was deposited in place of the mined coal.

Hercules Incorporated (Hercules) purchased the business and facilities, which includes the landfill property, from PICCO in 1973. Between 1980 and 1984, a series of field investigations were conducted to provide information on groundwater conditions in the coal formation, the deep bedrock formation, and the extent of field investigations that were conducted for Hercules. The data from these early investigations indicated that contaminants had migrated beyond the buried waste in the landfill and could be found in groundwater in the Pittsburgh Coal Formation and in downslope soils and perched groundwater. As a result, it was recommended that Hercules install a leachate collection trench below the lower landfill dike to collect leachate and groundwater. This trench was installed with the initial oil/water separator in 1983. Liquids collected in the trench were later directed to an upgraded oil/water separator, which was installed in June 1995. The oil is presently burned as fuel at the Hercules Jefferson Plant boiler, and the water is discharged to the Jefferson Borough Sanitary Sewer System, which drains to the West Elizabeth Sanitary Authority (WESA) for treatment.

Although the coal seam also contains groundwater, it is not likely to be used as a potable source because of its undesirable properties, such as high concentrations of iron, aluminum, manganese and chromium. This groundwater also contains high levels of sulphur compounds, and dissolved solids. The proximity of public water lines also reduces the chance of anyone using the coal seam water as a drinking supply in the foreseeable future. The flow of groundwater in the unconsolidated soils downgradient from the site generally parallels the surface topography. The direction of groundwater flow is to the west of the site. Properties east of the site are considered upgradient. Groundwater beneath the site flows away from, and not toward, an upgradient property. Although the communities surrounding the site are connected to a public water supply, some homes still use wells for their water supply. These wells are located in the deep bedrock aquifer. No residents currently drink the groundwater from the Pittsburgh Coal formation.

Investigations showed that benzene was present in an on-site monitoring well above Safe Drinking Water Act levels. There were no contaminants above safe levels in any of the off-site monitoring wells.

The levels of contamination in the on-site monitoring wells were significantly lower in the Operable Unit 2 (OU2) sampling than in the same wells during the OU1 sampling. This decrease in contamination levels, which was generally about a 20% decrease from OU1 sampling to OU2 sampling, suggests that natural attenuation of site-related organic constituents in the groundwater within the Pittsburgh Coal mine voids may be occurring through various mechanisms. These mechanisms include adsorption of organic compounds within the saturated coal, natural biodegradation, and even volatilization in the mine voids.

The primary contaminants of concern are organic compounds, which comprise approximately 5% of the waste volume and include benzene, napthalene, toluene, and total xylenes. The remainder of the landfill waste consists mainly of water, clay, lime, zinc salts, and other solids. The wastes in the landfill are presently covered by 4-10 feet of native soils. The waste cannot be seen or touched from the ground surface because of this soil cover.
Remedy:  This OU is the second and final OU for the site, and it addresses groundwater contamination. The selected alternative for groundwater at the site is no further action with periodic monitoring of off-site groundwater. This off-site monitoring will include sampling of the offsite monitoring wells, as well as monitoring the seeps and residential wells near the site. The on-site groundwater will be monitored pursuant to the remedial action selected in the ROD for the first OU.

After the source control remedy is completed, the on-site and off-site groundwater will both be periodically monitored to ensure that human health and the environment are being protected.
Text:  View full-text ROD [ 46K ]
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