Current Site Information
EPA Region 3 (Mid-Atlantic)Pennsylvania
along the southern bank of the Schuykill River
EPA ID# PAD002384865
6th Congressional District
Last Update: February 2014
Reclaimation Resources, Inc.
Berks Assocciation, Inc.
Current Site Status
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency signed a consent decree with 14 parties responsible for the contamination at the Douglassville Disposal site which required them to stabilize the pile of oily filter cake on site with a lime-based treatment instead of incinerating the pile. The on-site stabilization activities began in June of 2001 and have been completed. A Preliminary Close Out Report was signed by EPA in July 2002. A final inspection of the cleanup was conducted in October 2002. The Final Report of the cleanup was approved by EPA on March 27, 2003.
The site is currently in a maintenance mode. A fourth five-year review of the site conditions, as required by the Superfund law, was completed by EPA in April 2009. The Five-Year review found that the site conditions remain protective. The review, however, recommended a supplementary sampling to investigate a potential impact of the site on the Schuylkill River, and to evaluate the wells which were inaccessible during the wet season. EPA is currently monitoring on-site wells, sediment in the Schuylkill River, and select residential wells as part of routing monitoring of the Site. The next five-year review will be completed in April 2014.
Site DescriptionThe 50-acre Douglassville Disposal Site was a waste oil recycling facility that operated from 1941 to 1986 in Union Township, Berks County, PA. The on-site features included the former processing equipment, storage tanks, waste storage lagoons and a large pile of oily filter cake waste. From 1941 to 1972, waste oil sludge was placed in on-site lagoons. The contents of the lagoons were washed into the Schuylkill River during flooding in 1970 and 1972. After the 1972 flood, the lagoons were filled and seeded. Sludge generated in the oil recycling process was land farmed on the site. From 1979 to 1982, about 700 drums, many leaking, were stored on the site. The site is partially fenced. The population within a mile of the site is approximately 2,850. The site is located in a rural setting consisting of cropland, uncultivated fields, and light residential and industrial development. The segment of the river along which the site is located is designated for recreational activities and is extensively used as a source for municipal and industrial waters. Fishing occurs in the Schuylkill River and in the pond located just outside the site boundaries. The City of Pottstown has the closest municipal water intake from the river and is about four miles downstream.
Site ResponsibilityCleanup of this site is the responsibility of Federal and State government and parties potentially responsible for the site contamination.
NPL Listing HistoryOur country's most serious, uncontrolled, or abandoned hazardous waste sites can be cleaned using federal money. To be eligible for federal cleanup money, a site must be put on the National Priorities List. This site was proposed to the list on December 30, 1982 and formally added to the list on September 8, 1983.
Threats and ContaminantsContaminants detected in on-site groundwater, surface water, and soil include various heavy metals, volatile organic compounds (VOCs), polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), and polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs). Studies have detected PCBs and lead in locally caught fish; specific contaminants in river sediments include lead, chromium, and PCBs; however, they may not be site-related. Threats to public health, prior to the remedial construction, included contact with on-site soils and on-site sediments. Numerous wild animals are found at the site, and hunting is known to occur on the site.
Contaminant descriptions and risk factors are available from the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry, an arm of the CDC.
EPA dismantled the on-site tank farm and processing equipment in 1990-1991. The responsible companies built a soil cap over the former waste lagoon and landfarm areas in the northern portion of the site. The cap was completed in May 1993. The large pile of oily filter cake wastes (estimated to have contained approximately 46,000 cubic yards) remained to be addressed, although EPA constructed a fence around the pile in 1996.
In 1996, the responsible companies submitted a proposal to treat the oily filter cake wastes using a type of lime-based stabilization technology. EPA evaluated the proposal and determined that lime-based stabilization could work. A consent decree was signed by EPA and the responsible companies and was lodged with the federal court on January 19, 2001. Actual on-site cleanup work under the consent decree started in June of 2001. The stabilization of the filter cake waste is complete. A pre-final inspection of the remedial action took place on June 12, 2002. EPA signed a Preliminary Close-Out Report on July 17, 2002. The final inspection of the cleanup was conducted in October 2002. The Final Report of the cleanup was approved by EPA on March 27, 2003. The site is currently in a maintenance mode. The second five-year review of the Site conditions, as required by the Superfund law, was issued in April 2009. The Five-Year Review found that the Site conditions remain protective. EPA is currently monitoring on-site wells, sediment in the Schuylkill River, and select residential wells as part of routing monitoring of the Site. The next five-year review will be completed in April 2014.