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Revitalization/Reuse Property Profile for the Former Tranguch Tire Company, Hazleton, Pennsylvania

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Former Tranguch Tire Center Image 1 10-18-08-01

Former Tranguch Tire Center Image 1 10-18-08-01 View of existing tire center building structure

  1. Property Information
  2. Federal Response Information
  3. Demographic Information of General Location
    (Source: U.S. Census 2000)
  4. Property Description
  5. Background
  6. Federal and State Response
  7. Site Status
  8. Threats and Contaminants Addressed During EPA Cleanup
  9. Response Costs to Date
  10. Present Site Conditions
  11. Future Reuse/Redevelopment Considerations
  12. Federal Law
  13. State Law
  14. Contacts

I. Property Information

II. Federal Response Information

III. Demographic Information of General Location
 (Source: U.S. Census 2000):

Former Tranguch Tire Center Image 2 10-18-08-03

Former Tranguch Tire Center Image 2 10-18-08-03 View of lot adjacent to building structure

Former Tranguch Tire Center Image 3 10-18-08-07

Former Tranguch Tire Center Image 3 10-18-08-07 View of property with adjacent residential area

IV.  Property Description:

The former Tranguch Tire Company property (“Property”) is located within a residential area, in the vicinity of 22nd Street and Church Street, in the northeast section of the City of Hazleton, Pennsylvania. The Property has three separate building structures that served as garage buildings and a warehouse when the Property was used as a gasoline station and tire re-treading service station until 1995.  Six gasoline storage tanks were installed beneath the garage building at 1001 North Church Street in the 1960’s and a seventh tank was installed in 1985.  To date, six gasoline tanks have been removed but piping connected to a containment recovery and treatment system remains underground. The seventh tank has been emptied of fuel contents but the structure remains underground.

The Property is included in an area that has been identified by the Federal and State response agencies as the “Tranguch Gasoline Spill Site, Hazleton, Pennsylvania,”  (“Site”). The Environmental Protection Agency, Region III (“EPA”) has defined the Site boundaries as the extent of groundwater contamination emanating from the Property and surrounding properties.  The underground gasoline storage tanks at the Property were identified as a primary contributing source of the gasoline contamination which entered the groundwater and sewer systems in the area.  The contaminated plume has impacted the Black Creek and surrounding residences.

V. Background:

Between September 1991 and January 1994, several residents of Hazleton complained to the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (“PADEP”) about gasoline odors in their homes. After investigation, PADEP determined that the vapors were associated with an underground gasoline release. Further analysis revealed that storm and sanitary sewer pipes in the Hazleton area were cracked and, in some sections, partially collapsed. These openings allowed gasoline from leaking underground storage tanks to enter the sewer pipes and travel throughout the sewer system. Gasoline vapors in the sanitary sewer system made their way into residents’ homes through their sewer line connections.


VI. Federal and State Response:

EPA has been involved in the response at the Site since 1996.  EPA has been systematically monitoring ambient air in all of the homes in the vicinity of the gasoline releases, in order to test for benzene and other air contaminants associated with gasoline. EPA replaced or relined the broken sewer lines in the area to prevent gasoline-contaminated groundwater and vapors from infiltrating the sewer systems. Sewer vent traps were installed at residences to prevent vapors from entering the homes and/or carbon filter units were installed to continuously filter the air in certain homes. EPA installed a groundwater treatment system and a vapor extraction system in the vicinity of the releases. The vapor recovery system installed at the Property consists of a series of pipes that are located below ground. These pipes are connected to a soil vapor extraction system designed to remove organic vapors from the soil.  A separate groundwater treatment system similarly removes organic vapors from groundwater beneath the Site. These systems were designed to capture gasoline contamination and prevent gasoline vapors from entering homes. 

VII. Site  Status:

The EPA, PADEP and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (“COE”) are evaluating the progress of the cleanup and the impact of other nearby sources of groundwater contamination on the plume of contamination.  These agencies are also assessing the monitoring wells previously installed at the Site, and are closing down those wells that are no longer required to monitor the groundwater plume.

There are abandoned underground mines in this area of Hazleton. Such mines could potentially serve as pathways for migration of gasoline contamination. However, results show that the contamination in the mine is limited to a small corner of the mine. With more than 99% of the mine under water, EPA determined that the mine was not serving as a pathway for vapors to migrate into the nearby homes.

Final steps are being taken to investigate the mine pool underlying a portion of the Site. As of January 2008, no significant contamination has been found in the flooded mine. PADEP and EPA are continuing to sample select monitoring wells and indoor air in a few residences.

VIII. Threats and Contaminants Addressed During EPA Cleanup:

In the 1990’s, EPA and PADEP personnel observed gasoline in Black Creek in both visible sheen and weathered product form. EPA conducted sampling of the surface water to confirm the presence of gasoline. Subsurface sampling by EPA revealed contaminated water in the area of a mine pool near the ground water plume. This mine pool overflows into Black Creek during storm events.

The Federal clean up action was based on the observed discharge of gasoline to Black Creek. The scope of the response action included addressing the public health threat from the gasoline vapors in the vicinity of the Property.  EPA contractors conducted indoor air analysis of identified homes to determine the impact by the contaminants.  Of those residences where air quality was a concern, either PADEP or EPA installed ventilation systems. The air contaminants of concern are benzene, toluene, ethylbenzene and xylene (“BTEX”). Contaminant descriptions and associated risk factors are available through the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (“ATSDR”), an associated office of the Centers for Disease Control.  The ATSDR web site address is http://www.atsdr.cdc.gov 

IX. Response Costs to Date:

The Federal government has expended approximately $25 million on response efforts to remediate gasoline contamination at the Site.   Funding was obtained from the Oil Spill Liability Trust Fund, which is administered by the U.S. Coast Guard’s National Pollution Funds Center. 

X. Present Site Conditions

There are three garage building structures at the Property. The largest of the buildings, previously used as a garage and service station, has been partially demolished.  The City of Hazleton had ordered demolition of the larger building, which had been in a state of partial collapse.  The demolition began in October 2007. Part of this building remains standing.  The two smaller buildings were previously used as a small garage and a warehouse.  EPA is currently using the former warehouse building, located at 1001 North Church Street, near 22nd Street, to house the government’s groundwater air stripper system and soil vapor extraction system.  This use will continue until EPA determines that BTEX contamination associated with the Site is no longer a threat to the community and the environment.

XI. Future Reuse/Redevelopment Considerations:

Any further use of the Property must not disrupt the operation of the groundwater and oil vapor collection and treatment systems.  The collection system pipes are located at a shallow depth underground in certain areas of the building lot at 1001 Church Street. Development at the Property should not impede access by government officials to monitor the ground water collection system operation.  Also, any future building development should consider a design which incorporates subsurface ventilation as a precaution, due to the proximity to the original gasoline spill occurrence.

On April 21, 2003, EPA issued an Administrative Order by Consent for Access to Allow Abatement of Endangerment (Docket No. CWA-03-2003-0013CS), requiring the Estate of Michael C. Tranguch to file a Notice of Use Restriction with the Recorder of Deeds for Luzerne County.  In response, the Estate recorded the Notice on May 6, 2003 and it may be found in Book 3003, at page 123446. The Notice contains the restrictions described above.


Clean Water Act, as amended, 33. U.S.C. § 1321.

XIII. State Law

Contact PADEP for specific State regulations.

XIV. Contacts:

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Region III office
Stephen D. Jarvela, EPA On Scene Coordinator
Office of Preparedness and Response
Western Response Branch (3HS32)
U. S. EPA Region III
1650 Arch Street
Philadelphia, PA  19103
Phone: 215-814-3259
Email: jarvela.stephen@epa.gov

Natalie Katz, Senior Assistant Regional Counsel
Office of Regional Counsel (3RC30)
U.S. EPA Region III
1650 Arch Street
Philadelphia, PA 19103
Phone: 215-814-2615
Email: katz.natalie@epa.gov

Leo Mullin, Superfund Cost Recovery Expert
Office of Enforcement (3HS62)
Cost Recovery Branch
U.S. EPA Region III
1650 Arch Street
Philadelphia, PA 19103
Phone: 215-814-3172
Email: mullin.leo@epa.gov

Kristine Matzko, Land Revitalization Team Leader
Office of Brownfields and Land Revitalization
U. S. EPA Region III
1650 Arch Street
Philadelphia, PA 19103
Phone: 215-814-5719
Email: matzko.kristine @epa.gov

U. S. Coast Guard
Mark McEwen, Case Officer
U.S. Coast Guard Stop 7100
National Pollution Fund Center (NPFC)
Case Management Division
4200 Wilson Boulevard
Suite 1000
Arlington, VA 20598-7100
Phone: 202-493-6722
Email: Mark.L.McEwen@uscg.mil

Lieutenant Commander Michelle Bas, Attorney
U.S. Coast Guard Stop 7100
National Pollution Fund Center (NPFC)
4200 Wilson Boulevard
Suite 1000
Arlington, VA 20598-7100
Phone: 202-493-6755
Email: Michelle.C.Bas@uscg.mil

Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection
Joseph Iannuzzo
Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection
Northeast Regional Office
2 Public Square
Wilkes Barre, PA 18711-0790
Phone: 570-826-2589
Email: jiannuzzo@state.pa.us

Michael Ferrence, Attorney
Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection
Northeast Regional Office
2 Public Square
Wilkes Barre, PA 18711-0790
Phone: 570-830-3060
Email: mferrence@state.pa.us

City of Hazleton:
Alan Wufsus, Public Works Inspector
Department of Engineering
City of Hazleton
40 North Church Street
Hazleton, PA 18201
Phone: 570-459-4918

Owner of Tax Parcel #997-001:
Estate of Michael Tranguch, Sr.,
Executor Benito Tranguch

Attorney for Executor Benito Tranguch
Richard M. Hughes, III, Esquire 345 Pierce
Street Kingston, PA 18704
Phone: 570-331-8850

Edition December 2, 2009

Region 3 | Mid-Atlantic Cleanup | Mid-Atlantic Brownfields & Land Revitalization

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