New Castle Steel Company
Current Site Information
EPA Region 3 (Mid-Atlantic)Delaware
New Castle County
Near the Delaware River in the City of New Castle
EPA ID# DED980705255
1st Congressional District
Last Update: June 2008
EPA will provide future updates on an as-needed basis.
Deemer Steel Company
Current Site StatusThe site, which consists of two disposal areas, is no longer considered a risk to human health or the environment. It was deleted from the National Priorities List (NPL) on March 17, 1989. EPA conducted a Five-Year Review of conditions at the site in 2001 and the review showed that the site is protective of human health and the environment. However, the Record of Decision (ROD), signed in March of 1988, stated that the two disposal areas would be capped according to the requirements of Delaware’s Solid Waste Regulations. To date, one area has been capped. The Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control (DNREC) is working with the site property owner to cap the second disposal area in preparation for redevelopment of the site for residential/commercial use, all under state oversight. DNREC approved a Remedial Investigation and Feasibility Study for the second disposal area in January 2006 and drafted a proposed plan of remedial action in May 2006 as part of a "voluntary closure plan" (VCP), and has taken the lead to oversee its completion under state regulations. Since the site no longer presents a threat to human health and is currently undergoing closure under state supervision, EPA will no longer conduct five-year reviews at the site.
The New Castle Steel Site, located near the Delaware River in New Castle, Delaware, is a 3-acre landfill which received foundry wastes from the Deemer Steel Company from 1907 until 1987. The waste consisted of black sands, slag, coke, iron oxide scale, fine sand dust, and metal scrap. In 1955, an electric furnace was put into operation; and in 1973, a baghouse system was installed to control dust emissions from the furnace. Dust from the baghouse was mixed with black sand and spread over the disposal area from 1973 until 1980. In 1980, the plant began to recycle the dust and continued this practice until the plant closed in 1987. In 1980, EPA regulations classified baghouse dust as a hazardous waste because of unacceptable levels of cadmium, chromium, and lead. Consequently, the site was placed on the NPL in 1982 because the baghouse dust could potentially cause groundwater contamination. At the time the site was listed, more than 5,000 people lived within one mile of the site.
Shortly after the site was placed on the NPL, EPA determined that baghouse dust did not pose a serious health threat, and therefore, it was no longer classified as a hazardous waste. Although metals associated with the site (arsenic, chromium, lead, cadmium, and nickel) have entered soils, sediments, surface water, and groundwater, EPA and the State conducted studies that determined that the contamination levels at the site did not rise to levels that were threatening to human health or the environment and did not require cleanup actions.
Site ResponsibilityThis site was the responsibility of federal and state governments, and parties potentially responsible for site contamination.
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 partially capped and then deleted from the NPL on March 17, 1989.
Threats and ContaminantsThe groundwater, sediments, soil, and surface water were contaminated with low levels of heavy metals including arsenic, chromium, lead, cadmium, and nickel from the wastes disposed of on site. However, the low contamination levels were within acceptable health-based drinking water standards, and EPA determined that they did not pose threats to nearby residents or the environment.
Contaminant descriptions and risk factors are available from the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry, an arm of the CDC.