Current Site Information
EPA Region 3 (Mid-Atlantic)Pennsylvania
On the Delaware River in Chester
9 miles south of Philadelphia
EPA ID# PAD980539407
1st Congressional District
Last Update: March 2014
Current Site StatusThe former Wade Site, which was operated as an illegal waste dump, is located on the west bank of the Delaware River immediately north of the Commodore Barry Bridge in Chester PA. In association with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (PADEP - then designated PADER) conducted cleanup activities from 1981 through 1989. The Site was then deleted from the National Priorities List (NPL) in 1989. In 2004, with EPA and state approval, the site was improved, with an asphalt surface and engineered stormwater drainage, and redeveloped to provide parking for the City of Chester's Barry Bridge Park complex. A five-year review of the remedy (the third) conducted in 2004 concluded that the site continued to be protective of human health and the environment, and that the redevelopment activities had actually improved on the original remedy, further increasing the level of protectiveness. In 2008, the adjacent property immediately South of the bridge was selected as the future site of the Chester soccer stadium - construction of the stadium finished in 2011. EPA worked with the City of Chester to ensure that activities related to the construction and redevelopment of that property did not negatively impact the Site. The fourth five-year review of the remedy was conducted in 2009 concluding that the site continues to be protective. EPA and PADEP continue to monitor the Site. EPA is currently conducting the fifth five-year review of the Site, which is due to be issued in September 2014.
The three-acre Wade site, located on the west bank of the Delaware River in Chester, Delaware County, Pennsylvania is located in a light industrial area. The nearest residential area is about 1,000 feet from the site. From around 1950 to the early 1970s the site was used as a rubber recycling facility, and then it was converted to an illegal industrial waste storage and disposal facility until 1978. Workers stored drums on site, or dumped their contents either directly onto the ground or into trenches, severely contaminating soil and ground water. Wastes included toxic chemicals and polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), as well as acids and cyanide salts. In 1978, an intense fire at the operation destroyed one building and caused extensive damage to two others used for stockpiling drummed wastes. Forty-seven firefighters were hospitalized. Burned building debris, exploded drums, tires, shredded rubber, and contaminated earth littered the property. About 150,000 gallons of waste materials remained on site after the fire. Most of the wastes were in 55-gallon drums stored in the fire-damaged buildings.
Because of the dumping of contaminants, and the fire, the groundwater and soil were contaminated with heavy metals including arsenic, chromium, mercury, and lead; PCBs; plastic resins; and volatile organic compounds (VOCs) from past disposal activities. Since this was an ecologically sensitive area, at that time numerous threats existed not only to area residents and workers, but also to surrounding wetlands, wildlife, and marine animals. Several cleanup actions were conducted at this Site which was ultimately removed from the Superfund List in 1989. In 2004, with EPA and state approval, the site was redeveloped and resurfaced to provide parking for the City of Chester's adjacent Barry Bridge Park redevelopment. Barry Bridge Park was subsequently redeveloped to become PPL park, Chester's new soccer stadium.
Site ResponsibilityThis site was addressed through federal and state actions.
NPL Listing HistoryThis site was proposed to the National Priorities List of the most serious uncontrolled or abandoned hazardous waste sites, requiring long term remedial action on December 30, 1982. The site was formally added to the list September 8, 1983, making it eligible for federal cleanup funds. The site was deleted from the NPL on March 23, 1989.
Threats and ContaminantsThe groundwater and soil are contaminated with heavy metals including arsenic, chromium, mercury, and lead; PCBs; plastic resins; and volatile organic compounds (VOCs) from past disposal activities. Since this is an ecologically sensitive area, before the cleanup numerous threats existed not only to area residents and workers, but also to surrounding wetlands, wildlife, and marine animals.
Contaminant descriptions and risk factors are available from the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry, an arm of the CDC.
After the cleanup activities described below were completed, this Site was removed from the Superfund List.
In 1981 and 1982, EPA undertook two separate emergency actions to clean up this site. Workers removed 5,000 gallons of PCB-contaminated waste and 10,000 gallons of other hazardous wastes for incineration. They also removed 155 tons of contaminated solids.
The long-term remedy for the site was selected in 1984. The PADER managed the final site cleanup, which was started in 1987, and completed in the same year. That cleanup included: removing, decontaminating, and disposing of tires, tankers, waste piles, and buildings; contaminated soil removal; and site leveling, filling, and grading. The contaminated soil was removed to depths with acceptable levels of contamination or to the level of the water table. After grading, the site was covered with topsoil and seeded to minimize erosion. EPA, in conjunction with the state, deleted the site from the National Priorities List in 1989.
Two five-year reviews of the final remedy were conducted in 1993 and 1999, both concluding that the site remains protective of human health and the environment. With EPA and state approval, the site was upgraded with an asphalt surface, greenscaping and new stormwater drainage features, and put into use as an open air parking facility to provide parking for the City of Chester's new Barry Bridge Park complex constructed on the adjacent property. A third five-year review of the remedy conducted in 2004 concluded that the site continued to be protective of human health and the environment and that the redevelopment activities had actually improved the original remedy, further increasing the level of protectiveness. In 2008, the Barry Bridge Park property was selected as the future site of the Chester Soccer stadium - construction activities began in 2009. EPA worked with the City of Chester to ensure that activities related to the construction and redevelopment of that property did not negatively impact the Site. The fourth five-year review of the remedy, conducted in 2009, concluded that the site continues to be protective. EPA and PADEP continue to monitor the Site.