River Road Landfill
Current Site Information
EPA Region 3 (Mid-Atlantic)Pennsylvania
South Pymatuning and Hermitage Townships
EPA ID# PAD000439083
3rd Congressional District
Last Update: January 2015
River Road Enterprises
Erie Disposal Company
Current Site Status
The River Road Landfill site was deleted from the National Priorities List of most hazardous waste sites, in January 2004. Although the site was removed from the list, the remedial actions completed under the PADEP landfill closure plan will continue to be maintained. Additionally, EPA will continue to review monitoring data and conduct Five-Year Reviews to ensure the remedy is performing as planned. The third Five-Year Review was completed, in September 2014. It found that the remedy remains protective of human health and the environment.
The River Road Landfill site located in Mercer County, Pennsylvania (11th Congressional District), is a 102-acre inactive landfill that operated from 1962 until 1986. The landfill accepted municipal and industrial wastes, including foundry and metal processing waste, polychlorinated biphenyl (PCB) wastes, asbestos, and residues from tank car cleaning. Ownership of the landfill was transferred several times over the years. The current owner, Waste Management of Pennsylvania, Inc. purchased I, in 1980, and used it only for the disposal of non-hazardous industrial wastes. The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (PADEP) fined the company for several waste disposal violations, including discharging leachate into surface waters and operating a solid waste disposal area without a permit. The facility received a permit in 1984 for solid waste disposal but stopped receiving waste, in May 1986. The PADEP-approved closure activities, performed in 1987, were comprehensive, and the site now is fenced, and access is restricted. Approximately 4,500 people live within a mile of the site, and 9,000 people live within three miles. The closest residents live less than one-half mile away. Two sedimentation ponds catch runoff from the site and also control spillways draining into the Shenango River, which is located next to the landfill's southern border. The river is a water source for 75,000 industrial, commercial, and residential customers in Pennsylvania and Ohio, and the Shenango Valley Water Company's water intake is two miles downstream of the site.
Site ResponsibilityThis site is being addressed through federal and potentially responsible parties' actions.
NPL Listing HistoryOur 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 January 22, 1987 and formally added to the list October 4, 1989.
Threats and ContaminantsThe groundwater is contaminated with volatile organic compounds (VOCs) from wastes disposed of at the landfill. Soil beneath the cap contains detectable amounts of PCBs and other phenolic compounds. Accidental ingestion or direct contact with contaminated groundwater or soil is prevented by the cap and fencing.
Contaminant descriptions and risk factors are available from the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry, an arm of the CDC.
In 1987, Waste Management of Pennsylvania carried out a Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (PADEP) approved landfill closure program that entailed placing a cap over the landfill to keep rainwater and runoff from spreading contaminants, installing a leachate collection system and a ground water dam, controlling erosion and sedimentation, revegetating the site, and fencing the area.
EPA and Waste Management signed a consent order in 1990, in which the company agreed to conduct an intensive study of problems at the site. The investigation explored the nature and extent of contamination and recommended the best approaches for final cleanup. The EPA Record of Decision (ROD), completed in 1995, specifies continued operation and maintenance of the remedial activities completed under the PADEP closure plan, and implementation of deed restrictions for the site as the selected remedy for final site cleanup. A Consent Decree requiring the Potentially Responsible Parties (PRPs) to implement deed restrictions and operation and maintenance of the selected remedies was entered in February 2000. In 1999, an Explanation of Significant Difference updated the cost of the selected remedy by adding the costs of operation and maintenance of the long-term remedial activities. In July 2000, institutional controls (deed restrictions) prohibiting installing groundwater wells and excavating soil were established. The Site was removed from the NPL, in January 2004. In September 2009, the Second Five-Year Review confirmed that the remedy is functioning as designed. In coordination with the PADEP, EPA continues to review the Site's groundwater monitoring data on a quarterly basis. The third Five-Year Review was completed in September 2014. It found the remedy remains protective of human health and the environment.