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 Is Being Done to Clean Up the Site?

Status of the Clearview Landfill:

  • 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.

Status of the Folcroft Landfill:

  • 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.
  • The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service owns the Folcroft Landfill, as it is part of the John Heinz National Wildlife Refuge.
  • 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 for the Folcroft Landfill is currently being developed.  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 is currently underway and is planned for completion 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 was completed in early 2016.

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What Is the Current Site Status?

Status of the Clearview Landfill:

  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • In the Summer of 2015, EPA began designing the cleanup plan for the contaminated waste and soils at the Clearview Landfill. EPA hopes to complete the design by Fall of 2017.
  • 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 entire yard cleanup project will begin in late Summer 2017 and will likely take over a year and last into 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 the new landfill cover, 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 constructure treatment wetlands.  This work is expected to begin in 2018.
Status of the Folcroft Landfill:
  • EPA is currently studying the Folcroft 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.
  • The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) owns the Folcroft Landfill, as it is part of the John Heinz National Wildlife Refuge.
  • EPA has a legal agreement with a group of potentially responsible parties (PRPs) requiring them to perform the Remedial Investigation and Feasibility Study, with EPA and Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (PADEP) oversight.
  • The Remedial Investigation for the Folcroft Landfill is currently being developed.  The RI includes data from samples collected in 2006 and 2007 from several media including groundwater, soil, leachate and soil gas.
  • An additional investigation was completed to determine the extent of contaminated groundwater associated with the landfill.
  • EPA, PADEP and USFWS are currently reviewing the updated Remedial Investigation Report for the Folcroft Landfill.  This report is expected to be finalized in late 2017.
  • The Feasibility Study for this landfill is underway.  The Study will evaluate cleanup options for the Folcroft Landfill and the related contaminated groundwater.
  • 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 baseline risk assessment report was completed in January 2016.  The aquatic risk assessment should be final in 2018.

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EPA’s Involvement at the Site

  • EPA is working closely with our state and local partners to accomplish our cleanup goals.

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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.

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Operable Units

During cleanup, a site can be divided into a number of distinct areas depending on its complexity. These areas, called operable units (OUs), may address geographic areas, specific problems, or areas where a specific action is required. Examples of typical operable units include construction of a groundwater pump and treatment system or construction of a cap over a landfill.

View a list of all of the operable units at this site.

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Cleanup Progress

View the schedule for cleaning up this site.

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