Current Site Information
EPA Region 3 (Mid-Atlantic)Pennsylvania
Upper Merion Township
EPA ID# PAD009862939
7th Congressional District
Last Update: December 2012
O'Hara San. Co. Inc.
O'Hara Injection Well
Current Site Status
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency finished the construction portion of the cleanup at the Henderson Road site in 1992. Current site work involves new monitoring well installations and the ongoing groundwater treatment system operation and maintenance (currently off-line), including analysis of groundwater influent and compliance testing of air and surface water discharges, and performance of a quarterly sampling program.
Operation and maintenance for the landfill includes vegetation maintenance and erosion repair, leachate monitoring, and methane monitoring. While the ultimate cleanup objective for the aquifer restoration has not been met, the remedy remains effective in protecting human health and the environment by controlling the off-site migration of contaminants. Pumping concentrated around the major contamination source, the injection well, creates a cone of depression which draws water from the highly contaminated subsurface areas. The landfill cap prevents off-site release of contamination due to wind or water erosion, prevents shallow leachate seeps into the adjacent intermittent stream (Frog Run), and limits leachate generation contributing to ground water pollution.
EPA approved an extended temporary shutdown of the groundwater treatment system at the site to evaluate the affects that the shutdown will have on groundwater contamination conditions around the site. EPA had also approved the installation of six (two nested wells of three depth intervals each) additional groundwater wells, immediately north of the PA Turnpike, that will be used to further delineate the contaminated groundwater plume. The new monitoring wells were installed in two phases; 1) April - May 2010 and 2) March - April 2011. EPA will use the data generated during the shutdown period to evaluate the appropriateness of the current remedial action objectives for groundwater cleanup at the site. A five-year review is due in November 2013.
Site DescriptionThe Henderson Road site occupies 7 acres in a commercial business area of Upper Merion Township, Pennsylvania. Since 1975, O'Hara Sanitation has used the site for waste storage, waste recycling, vehicle maintenance and parking, and office facilities. A former industrial water supply well was used to dispose of industrial liquid wastes during the 1970s. The injection well lies beneath the floor of the O'Hara Sanitation maintenance garage. Contaminants include volatile organic compounds such as benzene, toluene, perchloroethene, and trichloroethene, and polyaromatic hydrocarbons. Other areas of concern include an area of previously ponded water and a landfill located 200 feet east of the well, containing approximately 158,000 cubic yards of landfill material. Additionally, about 21,000 cubic yards of trash and cinder fill were disposed of on adjacent properties. The landfill did not have a permit and contains a mixture of construction demolition debris and other commercial wastes, cinders, a former trenching area, and four underground storage tanks. Liquid waste, sludge, and drums also may have been disposed of at the landfill. The site is located approximately 2,000 feet upgradient of the Upper Merion Reservoir, a source of drinking water owned and operated by Aqua America, Inc that services over 200,000 people. Apartment complexes and private homes are situated beyond the neighboring industrial facilities of the site. The population residing within one-mile of the site is over 5,000 people. A school is located 3,000 feet south 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 September 8, 1983 and formally added to the list on September 21, 1984.
Threats and ContaminantsPrincipal on-site threats to ground water are volatile organic compounds (VOCs) such as benzene, chlorobenzene, vinyl chloride, chloroform, xylenes, and trichloroethylene (TCE). The major potential health risk is drinking contaminated ground water. Site workers could be exposed to site-related contaminants from inhalation of vapors generated by the injection well located in an operating truck repair shop on-site although this property is sampled on a regular basis with favorable results to date.
Contaminant descriptions and risk factors are available from the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry, an arm of the CDC.
In November, 1985, an Administrative Order on Consent was signed by EPA and nine potentially responsible parties (PRPs); Smithkline Beckman Corp., Alumax, Inc., Congoleum Corp., Sanduik, Inc., Scott Paper Co., Childers Products Co., and the site owners and operators to perform a study to determine the extent of the contamination.
A Consent Decree (CD) was entered into in June 1989 in which the PRPs agreed to clean up the injection well and the ground water contamination caused by the injection of hazardous substances into an on-site well before 1977. Construction of the ground water treatment plant is complete and the plant has been in operation since late 1991 (currently shut down). In addition, a vapor extraction system to remove contaminants from the ground water has been installed within the garage.
An Administrative Order was issued by EPA in August 1990 to the PRPs for the cleanup of the landfill. The selected cleanup remedy included capping of the landfill, leachate collection and storm water management. The PRPs have removed debris from an adjacent property and the western portion of the site has been paved. In addition, land use has been restricted to prevent unauthorized use. Construction of the landfill cap and the leachate collection system has been completed. Leachate has not been generated from the landfill for more than ten years.
The groundwater extraction and treatment system is currently not operating as EPA evaluates the responsible party claims that the contaminated plume does not extend beyond the PA Turnpike. The PRP has installed six additional wells north of the PA Turnpike. Groundwater continues to be monitored on a quarterly basis. A five-year review is due in November 2013.