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Bell Landfill

Current Site Information

EPA Region 3 (Mid-Atlantic)

Pennsylvania
Bradford County
Wyalusing

EPA ID# PAD980705107

10th Congressional District

Last Update: February 2014

Other Names


Terry Township Fill

Current Site Status

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is overseeing the cleanup of the Bell Landfill where all construction activities are complete. Operation and maintenance of the onsite cap and the leachate collection system is being conducted by the Potentially Responsible Parties (PRPs) under the terms of a 1997 Consent Decree. Annual inspections found the cap cover to be appropriate, however, the amount of leachate generated by the landfill was above the planned quantities. On July 30, 2008, EPA signed an Explanation of Significant Differences (ESD), which added a spray irrigation system to the remedy. The PRPs completed construction of a spray irrigation system in 2009 and continue to operate it during the warmer months. A double-lined retention pond holds collected leachate until it can be pumped through the spray irrigation system. EPA is completed the 3rd Five-Year Review for the site in August 2013 and found the remedy to be protective of human health and the environment.  EPA is working with the PRPs to address the issues and recommendations identified in the report.

Site Description

Bell Landfill covers 33 acres in Terry Township, Pennsylvania. Prior to 1970, the privately owned and operated site served primarily as an open dump for municipal trash. In 1978, the State licensed the landfill to accept ferric hydroxide sludge in an asphalt-lined portion of the fill area. From 1979 to 1981, 8,225 tons of sludge were disposed at the site. After identifying numerous permit violations related to leachate collection and the material used to cover the fill material, the State closed the landfill in 1982. The owner of the landfill covered the disposal areas with soil and installed two leachate collection tanks. These actions, however, did not perform satisfactorily, and several leachate seeps developed from the disposal areas. The ground water is contaminated with arsenic and vinyl chloride from the former disposal activities. Leachate is contaminated with heavy metals including manganese and arsenic. Surface soil is contaminated with arsenic and cadmium. After the landfill was closed, leachate seeped from the faulty collection system causing contamination of soils along the Township Road, contamination of an on-site pond, and odor. Once the landfill was capped, EPA and the PRPs expected that the quantities of leachate, which is collected in two tanks, would gradually decrease. It did not. In 2008 the PRPs started construction of a modified leachate remedy for the site which significantly reduced offsite disposal and transportation costs of leachate to a distant landfill. Approximately 800 people live within 3 miles of the site and use private wells for drinking water. About 100 people live within a mile of the site.

Site Responsibility

This site is being addressed through federal, state and potentially responsible parties' (PRPs) actions.

NPL Listing History

Our 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 June 24, 1988 and formally added to the list October 4, 1989.

Threats and Contaminants

The ground water is contaminated with arsenic and vinyl chloride from the former disposal activities. Leachate is contaminated with traces of organic pollutants, including methylene chloride, vinyl chloride, and high levels of heavy metals including manganese and arsenic. Surface soil is contaminated with arsenic and cadmium. After the landfill was closed, leachate seeped from the faulty collection system causing contamination of soils along the Township Road, contamination of an on-site pond, and odor. The volume of leachate, collected in tanks and off-site disposed, has not diminish significantly, making the remedy very costly for the PRPs. As a result, EPA added a spray irrigation system as a component of the remedy.

Contaminant descriptions and risk factors are available from the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry, an arm of the CDC.

Cleanup Progress

The parties potentially responsible for contamination at the site investigated the nature and extent of contamination and presented the remedial investigation report at the end of 1993. As part of the investigation activities, the site was fenced in 1992. EPA determined that the Bell Landfill site did not pose an immediate threat to public health or the environment. Studies leading to the selection of a final cleanup remedy resulted in the Record of Decision (ROD), signed in September 1994. The ROD calls for preventing direct contact with the site-related contaminants and minimizing leachate production by capping two acres of concentrated waste. The leachate is also controlled by a re-designed leachate collection system. The ROD predicted that natural attenuation of ground water would reduce the level of contamination. To monitor these processes and protect residents from possible direct contact with the landfill contaminants, the ROD also calls for deed restrictions and long-term monitoring. Negotiations with parties pertaining to implementation of the ROD were completed in January 1997. The Remedial Design/Remedial Action (RD/RA) Consent Decree was approved, in April 1997. The RD was approved on June 11, 1998. Construction started on June 15, 1998. During the construction, EPA and PRPs modified the original design several times. Major changes were dictated by discovering disposal areas which were not located during the RI/FS; other modifications pertained to utilization of on-site soils for capping and installation of underground leachate tanks. The work passed EPA's Pre-final inspection on Feb 2, 1999. The Final inspection passed in November 1999. The Final Completion Report was signed by the Regional Administrator on February 28, 2000. The Responsible Parties re-vegetated the cap in the Fall of 2001. The first Five-Year Review was signed on August 25, 2003. Initial studies how to limit the generation of leachate were performed by the Responsible Parties in 2005 and were not successful. The studies continued in 2006 and 2007. On July 30, 2008, EPA signed an Explanation of Significant Differences (ESD), which added on irrigation system to the remedy. On August 25, 2008, EPA signed the second Five-Year Review. In 2009 the PRPs completed a construction of a spray irrigation system which improves the remedy for the site. A new monitoring program was approved by EPA and PADEP on July 14, 2009.

Contacts

Site Contacts

Administrative Record Locations

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