Superfund Site: PRESQUE ISLE, ERIE, PA
Superfund Site Profile
The Presque Isle site is located on the Presque Isle State Park peninsula in Erie County, Pennsylvania. In the early 1970s, the Erie County Health Department noted a seep near Beach No. 7 that was discharging a noxious hydrogen sulfide-bearing black liquid. The discharge released hydrogen sulfide into the air and a black fluid containing hazardous substances into the soil and shallow groundwater. This discharge continued until the early 1980s. The source of the discharge was found to be an unplugged natural gas well that had been dug in 1910 and was abandoned in 1920. The well intercepts a geologic formation known as the Bass Island Formation. It is unclear whether the fluid discharging from the Bass Island Formation is a natural brine or is related to the deep well injection of wastes by the Hammermill Paper Company, located near the State Park. Eleven residential wells in the area were sampled in 1982 and were found to be uncontaminated. Presque Isle is a public recreational area used for picnicking, swimming, and fishing. The park contains an ecological reservation and is a natural habitat for deer, squirrels, waterfowl, and many plant-eating species. The annual average number of visitors to Presque Isle State Park is 4 million.