Fact Sheet: June 1998, #10
Drake Cleanup Team Repairs Incinerator Kiln
Refractory material lines a kiln, whether it is a potter's kiln or an incinerator kiln such as Drake's. Refractory absorbs very high temperatures from the heat source and sends back heat to whatever is inside the kiln. In the Drake incinerator, the refractory lining absorbs heat from two large natural gas and oxygen flames and sends the heat back onto contaminated soil to drive organic contaminants out of the soil into the gas stream, which is then treated in the secondary combustion chamber. In transferring this heat, the refractory lining undergoes tremendous stress.
Kiln refractory is made from a cement-like material that can either be cast into bricks which are then stacked into place or cast in place in its final shape. The original refractory lining at Drake was made of individual bricks installed to line the large rotating, horizontal cylinder. During the risk and trial burn phases in early 1997, frequent heating and cooling occurred while various test phases were conducted. This frequent heating and cooling imposed much more stress on the refractory bricks than had been originally estimated.
Before full production began on March 4, technicians secured the refractory bricks. In early April, when several of the original bricks loosened, technicians were called in to replace badly worn bricks from a small supply of replacement materials. After making this temporary repair, the Drake Cleanup Team began looking for a contractor to perform a full replacement with cast-in-place refractory.
On April 10, when more bricks loosened, the Team immediately brought in a subcontractor to replace all the refractory brick with a new cast-in-place lining. Technicians from the refractory subcontractor arrived in Lock Haven the week of April 20. After Drake crews removed all the old brick, the refractory specialists welded in stainless steel anchors, set forms, and mixed and poured the specially compounded material. After drying and curing the refractory, the subcontractor turned the project over to the Team, who completed curing the new refractory using the incinerator's burners on May 1.
Following several days of tests to ensure that all safety elements of the incinerator were still functioning properly, the Team began processing contaminated soil early on Wednesday morning, May 6. Since March 4, the team has successfully cleaned, tested and backfilled 20,494 tons of soil.
Photo Caption Technicians weld stainless steel anchors to the inside of the Drake kiln, just before the new refractory lining was cast into place. These anchors ensure that the refractory material bonds firmly to the inside of the rotating kiln.
Monitoring Systems Ensure Clean Environment
The long-term health and safety of the Lock Haven community is the Drake Cleanup Team's primary concern. To ensure that the community is adequately protected, the Team uses two methods of air monitoring: real-time and time-integrated. Air monitoring measures and analyzes the air at the site and in the area to ensure that nothing coming from the site jeopardizes the health and safety of the community. The monitors are capable of identifying and measuring organic vapors and hazardous particulates at levels below those that are harmful to human health before they leave the Drake Site. If such vapors or particulates are detected at the action levels, the Team is alerted and focuses on controlling the sources before they become a problem.
Perimeter Air Monitoring Four monitoring stations surround the Drake Site, each with real-time air monitoring and time-integrated sampling. Real-time monitors test for vapors from volatile organic compounds (VOCs). Air is drawn in through monitoring hoses at each of the perimeter stations and is pulled into a gas chromatograph at the onsite monitoring lab. A gas chromatograph measures the concentration of chemicals in the air.
If the system detects one part per million of total VOCs, it automatically switches operating modes to isolate and identify three key VOCs known to be present in site soils. These compounds are toluene, chlorobenzene and tetrachloroethane. The monitors alert the Team if they detect 10% of the permissible exposure limit (PEL). The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) sets the PEL, which is the established level that a worker can be continuously exposed to over an eight-hour period without harm. Real-time air monitoring runs anytime the incinerator is operating and any time crews are moving site soil.
While VOCs require real-time air monitoring, other contaminants require different measurement techniques. Therefore, each of the four perimeter monitoring stations includes time-integrated sampling devices that test for total suspended particulates (dust), metals, semiVOCs and fenac. Each month, whether the incinerator is operating or not, a sample is collected over a 24-hour period and analyzed. The Team ran an intensive 30-day investigation at the start of the project. Once the testing program proved its effectiveness, the Team gradually reduced the sampling frequency.
Community Air Monitoring Guidelines for Superfund cleanup projects require air monitoring at the perimeter of the site. In an effort to ensure a higher level of community health and safety, the Team added four additional air monitoring stations throughout the Lock Haven community. These monitors were installed in September 1995, and have been operating since. Every six days, each of these monitors collects a sample over a 24-hour period. The samples are analyzed for semiVOCs, VOCs, total suspended particulates (dust), metals, fenac, dioxins and furan.
Once results return from the laboratories, OHM Remediation Services Corp.'s (OHM's) quality control staff reviews them for any inconsistencies, then turns the results over to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE). USACE engineers and chemists again review the results, make copies and place them in the three local information repositories where interested parties may review the data.
Beta-Naphthylamine A special case is made when testing for beta-naphthylamine (BNA), a cancer-causing semiVOC that contaminates much of the soil at the Drake Site. Although the Team has conducted rigorous testing, BNA has never been detected in the air at the Drake perimeter. Samples indicate that levels of BNA detected at the Drake Site are far lower than the Pennsylvania limit for exposure in air.
The Team did not feel that the standard, scientifically accepted BNA-testing method provided a sufficient sample to ensure the level of protection that the Team wanted to maintain. Therefore, the Team consulted experts and adapted two alternate testing methods, known as National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) 5518 and OSHA Method 93. Both methods have been introduced into the Drake air monitoring program over the past 16 months to improve the reliability of the collections. Specifically, the OSHA Method 93 detects BNA at much lower levels than previous methods. The Team uses the NIOSH and OSHA testing methods at both the perimeter and community air monitoring stations every six days. The Team is confident that this extensive monitoring provides the most effective protection to the community.
Stack Testing While extensive air monitoring ensures that no chemicals harm the community, similar testing ensures that emissions from the stack cause no harm. Continuous emissions monitoring (CEM) occurs on the stack while the incinerator is operating. CEM ensures that emissions coming from the stack are clean and the secondary combustion chamber is operating the way it was designed. CEM tests for carbon monoxide, carbon dioxide, nitrous oxides, total hydrocarbons and oxygen.
In addition, during the first three months of full production, the Team has an independent contractor sample the stack monthly for dioxins and furans. Once every three months during operation, the stack will be sampled for particulates and metals. As an additional safety precaution, the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (PaDEP) brings in a mobile lab for unannounced spot checks to ensure community safety. (See article on page 4.)
Photo Caption Drake air monitoring technicians record data as they turn on the pump that will draw air through a filter to collect a 24-hour sample. Once the sample is complete, the filter will be packed and shipped to a laboratory for analysis. Visible at the top of the photo are small mesh bags of sphagnum moss. Moss bags are placed at eight locations around the county in a cooperative study with Pennsylvania State University to document natural levels of heavy metals and dioxins.
Information Repository Moved
The Information Repository located at City Hall is being moved to the Community Outreach Center at the Drake Chemical Site. The Information Repository houses the Administrative Record File, EPA's official collection of data, reports, letters and other information that supports the selection of a cleanup plan for the site.
EPA anticipates moving the Information Repository during the first week of June. For more information on the location and hours of the Community Outreach Center see the box below.
EPA's National Ombudsman Releases Long-Awaited Report
Bob Martin, EPA's Superfund National Ombudsman, released his final report on the Drake Chemical Superfund Site on April 16. The report addressed issues that Martin explored at the request of Arrest the Incinerator Remediation Inc. (A.I.R.). After Martin issued the report, officials from EPA Region III and headquarters in Washington, D.C., reviewed the document. Region III Administrator W. Michael McCabe released a detailed response stating that "there are no new concerns raised that would cause the Region to stop the incineration cleanup of the highly contaminated soils at the Drake Site." In fact, all the topics that were cited in the Ombudsman's report had been addressed numerous times by Region III in response to questions from the Lock Haven community. Answers related to the issues are contained in the regional site files that are available to the public.
Region III's formal reply to the Ombudsman's report contained a detailed, point-by-point technical response to areas that Martin thought needed attention. In many instances the response pointed out that Martin chose to not review all the site files before issuing his report. These omission resulted in a flawed analysis of the Drake cleanup project and conclusions that were not based on fact or good science. After responding to the Ombudsman's report, Region III officials decided to resume the cleanup of the Drake Site and will continue to respond to community concerns.
PaDEP's Mobile Unit Visits Lock Haven
PaDEP's Mobile Analytical Unit (MAU) was in Lock Haven the week of May 10 to conduct additional air sampling around the Drake Chemical Site. This was not the first time the MAU had been in the community.
During the trial and risk burns at the site in January and February 1997, the MAU conducted air sampling in and around Lock Haven to determine whether any contaminants found in the Drake incinerator stack during the burns were present in the atmosphere of the greater Lock Haven area. The MAU collected samples to develop a "fingerprint" of the stack emissions. The mobile lab set up at a location downwind of the site and analyzed air samples for any trace of that "fingerprint."
The MAU conducted the same type of sampling during the week of May 10 at four locations in and around Lock Haven: the airport, Keystone Central Vo-Tech School, Lock Haven Hospital parking lot, and the corner of Keller and Fleming streets in Castanea. These samples will be analyzed to determine if contaminants are present that would match the "fingerprint" specifically developed for the Drake incinerator.
ATSDR Hold Availability Session
The Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) recently held a public availability session in Lock Haven. The availability session was designed to answer questions from the community about ATSDR's Draft Health Consultation #3 and solicit comments. From the comments received at the session, ATSDR will consider any changes to the report that may be necessary and will issue a final report in the near future.
Photo Caption Some of the materials excavated at the Drake Site are capable of producing unpleasant odors, which could be a nuisance to the community. OHM technicians apply odor-suppressing foam (left), which looks like firefighting foam, to minimize odors. To prevent soil erosion caused by wind and rain, technicians periodically apply a coating of a liquid sealant that hardens into a crust (right). As soil is moved from the stockpile to the incinerator, untreated soil is exposed to the elements, making reapplication of this sealant an ongoing process. Both processes are part of the continuing effort to ensure that the Drake cleanup is a good neighbor as well as a safe project.
What is a Technical Assistance Grant?
EPA's Technical Assistance Grants (TAGs) provide funds for a qualified citizens' group affected by a Superfund site to hire independent technical advisors. These advisors:
review and interpret site-related documents; explain the technical information to group members; assist group members in communicating site-related concerns to EPA; communicate the contents of the technical advisors' reports to the community; participate in site visits to better understand cleanup activities; travel to meetings and hearings related to the situation at the site; and participate in and/or attend health and safety training.
The initial TAG award may be as much as $50,000; however, additional funding may be available for unusually large or complex sites, such as the Drake Site.
There are several requirements for obtaining a TAG, including incorporation of the group as a non-profit organization. In addition, the group is required to contribute matching funds, whether in cash or in donated services or supplies, equal to 20% of the total project costs. When applying for a TAG, the group must state what the TAG funds are intended for. Only one TAG is available at each Superfund site, so EPA urges local community groups to join together to apply.
If a group receives a TAG for $1,000 or more, the group must obtain bids from at least two technical advisors. Once a contract is signed between the group and the technical advisor, EPA cannot interfere in the contract. In addition, EPA requires that the group submit quarterly and annual status reports so that EPA can ensure that the money is being spent in the manner in which it was intended.
Certain groups are ineligible to receive TAG money. These groups include parties responsible for the contamination at a site; an academic institution; a political subdivision, such as a township or municipality; or a group established by a government entity.
At the Drake Site, only one group applied to represent the community. Arrest the Incinerator Remediation Inc. (A.I.R.) received a TAG in September 1995 for $50,000. Once A.I.R. spent that money, the group applied for an additional $50,000 which EPA granted in September 1997. Only groups who follow the proper guidelines for spending the initial $50,000 may apply for additional grant money. Activities that A.I.R. uses their TAG award for include a quarterly newsletter and weekly meetings.
If you would like more information on TAGs, please contact Amelia Libertz, TAG Coordinator, U.S. EPA, Region III, 1650 Arch St., Philadelphia, PA 19103-2029; (215) 814-5522.
And the Winners Are
The Drake Cleanup Team wishes to thank all the students who submitted posters showing how they would like to see the Drake Site reused. It was a pleasure to see so many creative ideas. You can come and view the winning entries at the Drake Community Outreach Center. Congratulations to the winners!
Winner Best Slogan
Autumn Roxanne Glass
3rd grade, Robb Elementary
Winner Most Artistic
5th grade, Dickey Elementary
Partner Highlight: Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection
PaDEP's mission is to protect Pennsylvania's air, land and water from pollution and to provide for the health and safety of citizens through a cleaner environment. PaDEP partners with individuals, organizations, governments and businesses to prevent pollution and restore natural resources. As a member of the Drake Cleanup Team, PaDEP works cooperatively with EPA, USACE and OHM to ensure that the incinerator operates safely and complies with all Pennsylvania environmental regulations.
A primary responsibility of PaDEP's regional Environmental Cleanup Program is to work with EPA to clean up federal Superfund sites, such as the Drake Site. The Superfund Program is truly a federal/state partnership. Although EPA has primary responsibility for a Superfund site, EPA is obligated to consider and apply state or Commonwealth laws, standards, technical comments, and community concerns when making cleanup decisions. The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania finances 10% of Superfund remedial, or cleanup, actions, such as the Drake Site. The federal government contributes the remaining 90%. However, once the remedial action is complete, the Commonwealth is responsible for 100% of the operation and maintenance costs.
From 1971 until 1995, PaDEP was part of the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Resources (PaDER). However, in June 1995, the Pennsylvania legislature split PaDER into PaDEP and a sister agency, the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources. With headquarters in Harrisburg, PaDEP employs 3,000 individuals throughout the Commonwealth, including regional field operation offices in Williamsport, Meadville, Pittsburgh, Harrisburg, Wilkes-Barre and Conshohocken.
PaDEP's Northcentral Regional Field Operations office in Williamsport is responsible for seven environmental protection programs in 14 northcentral Pennsylvania counties, including Clinton. These programs include:
Air Quality, Waste Management, Water Management, Water Supply Management, Environmental Cleanup, Pollution Prevention and Emergency Response.
For the fiscal year beginning July 1, PaDEP's budget is $566 million, which includes $102 million in federal funds, primarily to operate programs for EPA such as safe drinking water and air pollution control.
The implementation of Superfund in Pennsylvania has resulted in the Commonwealth being a national leader in achieving cleanup results. PaDEP also participates in negotiations with responsible parties for enforcement cleanup actions; reviews and comments on the remedial investigation, feasibility study, Proposed Remedial Action Plan, remedial design and remedial action; and assists in cost recovery efforts.
PaDEP has additional authority under the Land Recycling and Environmental Standards Act and the Hazardous Sites Cleanup Act to address contaminated sites that might not be covered by the Superfund Program or Commonwealth enforcement programs.