Superfund Information Systems: Site Profile

Superfund Site:

PALMERTON ZINC PILE
PALMERTON, PA

Health & Environment

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What Are the Risks at the Site?

Dust and soil still contains heavy metals such as lead, cadmium, and zinc from former processes in the Borough of Palmerton and surrounding area. Blue Mountain, the Cinder Bank and the shallow groundwater and surface water adjacent to the Site are affected by elevated levels of heavy metals as a result of historic operations. Aquashicola Creek is contaminated with zinc, copper and cadmium from Cinder Bank leachate and surface runoff.

People who come in direct contact with or accidentally ingest contaminated groundwater or surface water may be at risk.

EPA has tested approximately 2,400 properties and remediated approximately 180 of those properties.  However, property owners who declined EPA performing testing and remedial activities could still have contaminants in residential soil which may pose an elevated health risk.

Fish in Aquashicola Creek contain bioaccumulated contaminants, and eating them may pose a health threat. Horses and cattle that graze in the area have shown high concentrations of lead and cadmium, which has caused substantiated cases of illness and fatigue.

Contaminant descriptions and risk factors are available from the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry, an arm of the CDC.

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Contaminant Information

View a full list of contaminants of concern for this site.

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Performance Measures

EPA uses performance measures to track environmental results at Superfund sites. If you have any questions or concerns about the measures at this site, please contact the site team members listed under Site Contacts.

Read more about Superfund Remedial Performance Measures.

Performance
Measure
Status at this
Superfund Site
What does this mean?
Human Exposure Under Control Yes Yes means assessments indicate that across the entire site:
  1. There are currently no unacceptable human exposure pathways; and
  2. EPA has determined the site is under control for human exposure.

No means an unsafe level of contamination has been detected at the site and a reasonable expectation exists that people could be exposed.

Insufficient data means that, due to uncertainty regarding exposures, one cannot draw conclusions as to whether human exposures are controlled, typically because:
  1. Response to the contamination has not begun; or
  2. The response has begun, but it has not yet generated information sufficiently reliable to evaluate whether there are currently any unacceptable human exposure pathways at the site.
Groundwater Migration Under Control No

Yes means EPA reviewed all information on known and reasonably expected groundwater contamination. EPA concluded the migration of contaminated groundwater is stabilized and there is no unacceptable discharge to surface water. EPA will conduct monitoring to confirm that affected groundwater remains in the original area of contamination.

No means EPA has reviewed all information on known and reasonably expected groundwater contamination, and the migration of contaminated groundwater is not stabilized.

Insufficient data means that due to uncertainty regarding contaminated groundwater migration, EPA cannot draw conclusions as to whether the migration of contaminated groundwater is stabilized.

Construction Complete No

Yes means the physical construction of the cleanup is complete for the entire site.

No means either physical construction is not complete or actions are still needed to address contamination.

Sitewide Ready for Anticipated Use No Yes means:
  1. All cleanup goals affecting current and reasonably anticipated future land uses of the entire site have been achieved, so there are no unacceptable risks;
  2. All required land-use restrictions or other controls have been put in place; and
  3. The site has achieved Construction Complete status.

No means that one or more of these three criteria have not been met. However, a site listed as no may still have redevelopment occurring on portions of the site and may be eligible for additional redevelopment.

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