Superfund Information Systems: Site Profile

Superfund Site:

NORTH PENN - AREA 12
WORCESTER, PA

Cleanup Activities

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Background

The North Penn Area 12 Superfund Site is located in Worcester Township, Montgomery County, Pennsylvania. The Site includes a 26-acre parcel previously operated by Transicoil, Inc, a 12-acre area previously operated by the U.S. Army as a Nike missile control facility, and the associated groundwater contamination.  As part of manufacturing operations, the facilities used trichloroethylene (TCE) and other solvents to degrease parts and equipment, resulting in groundwater contamination at the Site. EPA added the Site to the National Priorities List (NPL) in 1990. 

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What Has Been Done to Clean Up the Site?

  • The Site is being addressed through federal, state and PRP actions.
  • Between 1952 and 1991, several different owners manufactured electric motors at the 25-acre former Transicoil facility. The facility used trichloroethylene (TCE) as a degreasing solvent and stored waste oil and solvents in an underground tank. The former Nike control facility property, used by the Army from 1954 to 1968, also used and disposed of TCE.
  • In 1979, the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Resources (now known as the Department of Environmental Protection) found elevated concentrations of solvent-based chemicals, including TCE, in monitoring wells at the Transicoil property and in private wells off the property.
  • An underground waste solvent tank, thought to be a potential source of contamination, was removed by a former owner/operator of the site. Under terms of a 1990 order and subsequent bankruptcy settlement, Eagle-Picher/Transicoil, a responsible party for the Site, provided carbon filters and periodic sampling for 13 affected residential wells near the Site. Well sampling conducted in January 1995 identified several additional residential wells that had been affected by site contamination. In August of 1995, EPA issued a unilateral administrative order to several other responsible parties for the Site that required continuous periodic sampling and the installation of carbon filter systems on additional home wells found to be affected by site contamination. Approximately 30 homes were provided with carbon filters under the terms of the two orders. These actions prevented any immediate health threat from site-related contamination.
  • In September 1997, EPA issued a Record of Decision (ROD) documenting the selected remedy for the Site.  The remedy included:
    • The construction of a public water supply system extension to provide drinking water to residents.
    • The construction and operation of a groundwater extraction and treatment system.
    • Long-term monitoring to evaluate the performance of the groundwater extraction and treatment system.
    • Institutional controls that prohibit the use of groundwater on the former Transicoil property and restrict the use of Site-related contaminated groundwater as a drinking water supply source.
  • An extension of the public water supply system has been completed. Wells to 147 homes and businesses have been replaced with public water connections.
  • A groundwater treatment system was also constructed and began operation in September 2000. The groundwater treatment system was adjusted in 2007 and in 2012 with the construction of additional extraction wells. The current groundwater extraction system is effectively capturing the known plume. There is an ongoing optimization of the current groundwater extraction system.
  • A vapor intrusion assessment was completed in 2012 and determined that vapor intrusion is not currently a concern at the Site. The results of the assessment were documented in the 2012 Five-Year Review Addendum for the Site, which included an updated protectiveness statement indicating that the Site is currently protective of human health and the environment. 
  • The institutional controls required by the ROD have been implemented. On December 31, 1998, the owners of the former Transicoil property recorded a Notice of Use Restriction with the Montgomery County Recorder of Deeds, prohibiting the use of groundwater at the former Transicoil property until EPA determines that the water is safe for use as drinking water.

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What Is the Current Site Status?

  • EPA conducts Five-Year Reviews of the Site’s remedy. These reviews ensure that the remedies put in place protect public health and the environment, and function as intended by site decision documents. The third Five-Year Review, conducted in September 2015, found that the remedy was constructed in accordance with the requirements of the 1997 ROD and is functioning as designed. EPA has determined that the Site is protective of human health and the environment in the short term. EPA expects the Site will be fully protective of human health and the environment when the groundwater cleanup goals are met.
  • Operation and maintenance activities are ongoing.
  • The potentially responsible party is currently conducting an optimization pilot to determine if the use of In-situ Chemical Oxidization (ISCO) can be utilized to help speed up the cleanup.

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Emergency Response and Removal

Cleanup has also included removal actions, or short-term cleanups, to address immediate threats to human health and the environment. Prior to 1990, a former owner/operator removed an underground waste solvent tank. In 1990, a potentially responsible party (PRP) also provided 30 homes with carbon filters to treat contaminated water.

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