Superfund Site Profile
The Paoli Rail Yard Site includes the 28-acre Rail Yard Property, the surrounding residential areas and the approximately 400 acre watershed north of the Rail Yard Property. The Rail Yard consists of an abandoned electric train repair facility and a commuter rail station. The Penn Central Corporation was the original owner and operator of the facility. The facility is currently owned by Amtrak and is operated by the Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority (SEPTA). Prior to SEPTA, during Amtrak's ownership, Conrail operated the Rail Yard. Commuter trains were serviced, repaired, and stored at this facility. Routine maintenance and repair of railroad cars involved electrical equipment that contained PCBs. Until 1986, the Rail Yard was unsecured and easily accessible; residents and commuters regularly used it as a shortcut to reach both the train station and surrounding commercial properties.
In the late 1970s, both the EPA and the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Resources (now called Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection or PADEP) inspected the Rail Yard. Amtrak, Conrail, and SEPTA (the Rail Companies) were required to determine the extent of contamination and to correct any problem areas. The Rail Companies collected samples, cleaned up, and further studied the area. In 1985, samples taken in 1984 were made available to the EPA, indicating a severe PCB problem at the Rail Yard. These sample results were verified, and in 1986, the EPA filed a complaint seeking an order to require the Rail Companies to limit access to the Rail Yard, control the movement of PCBs from the Rail Yard, conduct sampling and analysis, and to clean up the Rail Yard. The Rail Yard is surrounded on three sides by residential communities, and on the fourth side, by commercial facilities.