Superfund Site: PAOLI RAIL YARD

Superfund Site Profile

Five-Year Review:

The Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (“CERCLA”) – more commonly known as “Superfund” – requires that a review of a cleanup remedy be performed every five years when hazardous substances remain on site above levels which permit unrestricted use and unlimited exposure.  This review is intended to identify performance issues and determine whether the cleanup remedy remains protective of human health and the environment.  The Third Five-Year Review, conducted in 2016, indicates that the cleanup remedy is protective of human health and the environment.  Residential properties adjacent or in close proximity to the rail yard that once contained PCBs have been remediated and are suitable for unrestricted use and unlimited exposure.  The section entitled “Current Site Risks” on this webpage also includes a summary of the findings of the review.


The Paoli Rail Yard Superfund Site is located in Paoli, Chester County, Pennsylvania, in parts of Willistown and Tredyffrin Townships.  The primary feature of the Site is the 28-acre rail yard where electric rail cars were stored, maintained, and repaired for several decades through the 1980s.  Dielectric fluids that contained polychlorinated biphenyls, or PCBs, were handled and released at the rail yard.  PCBs are a group of hazardous substances that were once widely used in dielectric fluids due to their excellent insulation capabilities.  After release, the PCBs migrated to adjacent residential properties and streams located north of the rail yard.