Hellertown Manufacturing Company
Current Site Information
EPA Region 3 (Mid-Atlantic)Pennsylvania
EPA ID# PAD002390748
15th Congressional District
Last Update: December 2012
Champion Spark Plug Company
Current Site StatusEPA had been overseeing the cleanup of the Hellertown Manufacturing Co. site, where a pump and treat system currently extracts and treats groundwater that is contaminated primarily with TCE, a chemical component of solvents. The extraction system is monitored, via sampling on a semi-annual basis and is expected to operate until the groundwater performance standards are achieved. Consent Decree negotiations between EPA and the potentially responsible parties, Federal-Mogul Corporation and Paikes Enterprises, Incorporated, for reimbursement of past cleanup costs and the takeover of the remediation work ended when Federal-Mogul declared bankruptcy on October 1, 2001. On-site activities that are currently underway include continued groundwater treatment plant operation and monitoring of groundwater to assess the treatment plant efficiency. A new monitoring well was installed in November 2005 between the Site and the nearby Saucon Creek to assist in refining the delineation of the contamination plume. The state (PADEP) assumed all operation and maintenance responsibility for the site in September 2007. The EPA has investigated several properties for potential vapor intrusion issues related to the TCE contamination in groundwater. The initial investigation was finalized in May 2009 with some follow-up sampling to be performed in 2013. A five-year review of the implemented remedy was completed in April 2010. In 2012, an Explanation of Significant Differences was prepared that changes the groundwater cleanup standard from background to the Maximum Contaminant Levels.
Site DescriptionThe Hellertown Manufacturing Co. site located in Hellertown, Northampton County, Pennsylvania is a 9-acre site which manufactured spark plugs from 1930 to 1982. Spark plug manufacturing involved a plating process and degreasing operation that used various chemicals, including trichloroethylene (TCE), that resulted in the generation, storage, and disposal of various wastes. Groundwater underlying the site was contaminated with volatile organic compounds (VOCs), according to tests conducted by the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Resources in 1985. Hellertown Manufacturing used five on-site lagoons for the disposal of wastes, including cleaners, cutting oils, zinc plating waste, and chrome dip waste. The lagoons were unlined, allowing wastes to seep into the local groundwater. In 1970, the company reported that it discharged 300,000 drums of wastes to the lagoons. All five lagoons were filled in 1976 with formerly excavated material and borrow material from off-Site. Saucon Creek is located approximately 1,000 feet downgradient from the Site and is used for fishing.
Site ResponsibilityThis site is being addressed through federal actions and O&M responsibility has been assumed by the state.
NPL Listing HistoryOur country's most serious, uncontrolled, or abandoned hazardous waste sites can be cleaned using federal money. This site was proposed to the list on January 22, 1987 and formally added to the list March 31, 1989.
Threats and ContaminantsGroundwater underlying the site is contaminated with volatile organic compounds (VOCs), according to tests conducted by the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Resources (now PADEP) in 1985. On-site soils and sludges from the former waste lagoons are contaminated with chromium and cyanide from former manufacturing process wastes. On-site workers may have been threatened by coming in contact with or accidentally ingesting contaminated soils, sludges, or groundwater prior to site cleanup activities. During cleanup, there was a potential for stirring up dusts, which are hazardous to inhale. Individuals may be at risk if they ingest contaminated groundwater or fish, or come into direct contact with contaminated water.
Contaminant descriptions and risk factors are available from the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry, an arm of the CDC.