Superfund Information Systems: Site Profile

Superfund Site:

LOWER DARBY CREEK AREA
DARBY TWP, PA

Cleanup Activities

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Background

The Lower Darby Creek Area (LDCA) site is located in Darby Township and Folcroft Borough in Delaware and Philadelphia counties, Pennsylvania. The site consists of two separate landfills, the Clearview and Folcroft Landfills. The Clearview Landfill is on the east side of Darby Creek near the intersection of 84th and Lindbergh Boulevard. The Folcroft Landfill is located two miles downstream on the west side of Darby Creek and within the John Heinz National Wildlife Refuge. Both landfills operated from the 1950s to the 1970s and closed in the mid-1970s. Wastes accepted at both landfills reportedly included municipal, demolition and hospital wastes. Waste disposal practices contaminated soil, groundwater and fish tissue with hazardous chemicals. Investigations at both landfills are ongoing. The site is being cleaned up through federal, state and potentially responsible party (PRP) actions.

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What Has Been Done to Clean Up the Site?

Status of the Clearview Landfill - Operable Unit (OU)1:

From November 2011 to September 2012, EPA conducted a Time-Critical Removal Action on the landfill near the southern industrial area (near the business on the landfill), to remove high levels of Polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs). Almost 4,000 tons of PCB waste were excavated and shipped to another facility for disposal.

In 2014, EPA selected the final cleanup plan for the Clearview Landfill. The plan calls for constructing an evapotranspiration (ET) cover over about 50 acres to contain landfill waste and contaminants; excavating contaminated soils outside the cover and placing them under the ET cover; and collecting and treating leachate.

In the Summer of 2015, EPA began designing the cleanup plan for the contaminated waste and soils at the Clearview Landfill. The design was completed in mid-2018.

Between September 2016 and June 2017, EPA conducted an additional Time-Critical Removal Action on residential properties to remove soil contaminated with Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons (PAHs) that posed a health threat.  EPA cleaned up 33 residential properties and removed almost 3,000 cubic yards of contaminated soil.

Status of the Folcroft Landfill - OU2:

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service owns the Folcroft Landfill, as it is part of the John Heinz National Wildlife Refuge. EPA is currently studying the Folcraft Landfill to determine the nature and extent of contamination. EPA will use the results from the study to evaluate risks to the public and the environment and to evaluate potential long-term cleanup options.

EPA has a legal agreement with a group of potentially responsible parties (PRPs) requiring them to perform the Remedial Investigation and Feasibility Study.

The Remedial Investigation (PDF) for the Folcroft Landfill is now complete. The RI includes data from samples collected in 2006 and 2007 from several media including groundwater, soil, leachate and soil gas.

An additional investigation to determine the extent of contaminated groundwater associated with the landfill was completed in late 2015. A baseline risk assessment for the aquatic portions of the Site (sediment, surface water, fish tissue, turtle tissue) including areas within the John Heinz Wildlife Refuge and Darby Creek was conducted.  All sampling for this assessment was completed between April and September 2012. The final risk assessment report (PDF) was completed in early 2016.

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What Is the Current Site Status?

Status of the Clearview Landfill - OU1:

EPA began a new Superfund cleanup at the Clearview Landfill in late summer 2017. This cleanup is referred to as the Remedial Action. 

The first step of the Landfill cleanup will be to continue addressing residential yards in the Eastwick neighborhood that have contaminated soil related to the Clearview Landfill.  The residential yard cleanup project began late Summer 2017 and will likely be completed in 2019.

Additional work to be conducted will be the permanent relocation of businesses on the landfill, removal of contaminated soil from the City Park, construction of a new forested cover over the landfill waste, and stabilizing the streambanks. EPA will be capturing some of the contaminated groundwater from the landfill before it reaches the creek. This contaminated water will be treated in treatment wetlands. This work began in early 2019.

Status of the Folcroft Landfill - OU2:

The Feasibility Study for this landfill is underway and expected to be completed in 2019. The Study will evaluate cleanup options for the Folcroft Landfill and the related contaminated groundwater.

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Emergency Response and Removal

In September 2011, EPA took an action to remove soils and wastes contaminated with high levels of polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) from the southern portion of the Clearview Landfill. EPA took this action because the contaminants posed a risk to local workers on the site as well as Darby Creek. EPA completed this short-term action in September 2012.

Between September 2016 and June 2017, EPA conducted an addtional Time-Critical Removal Action on residential properties to remove soil contaminated with PAHs that posed a health threat.  EPA cleaned up 33 residential properties and removed almost 3,000 cubic yards of contaminated soil.

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