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C & D Recycling

EPA Region 3 (Mid-Atlantic)

Luzerne County
Foster Township

EPA ID# PAD021449244

11th Congressional District

Last Update: March 2014

Other Names


Current Site Status

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency oversaw the cleanup, which was financed by Lucent Technologies (on behalf of AT&T Nassau Metals Corp.). Cleanup is now complete. Starting in June 1998, Lucent stabilized and disposed off site 90,000 tons of contaminated soils and sediment. Air monitoring was done throughout the cleanup to ensure that air quality remained safe through the project. Finally, the site was re-graded and seeded.

The EPA also sampled groundwater at the site to see if the cleanup work affected water quality. Tests from September 1999 and April 2000 showed that the water met safe drinking water standards. The agency also took samples of the sediments in the pond and Mill Hopper Creek in August 1999, August 2000, September 2002, October 2003, and December 2004. Based upon these sampling events, a small area of residual contamination in the creek and pond required additional cleanup.

Some of the gravel placed in Mill Hopper Creek as part of the creek restoration has washed downstream onto an adjacent property. This gravel was removed, and additional measures were taken to prevent any future gravel migration.

Site Description

The 45-acre C & D Recycling site is located in Foster Township, Luzerne County, Pennsylvania. It was operated as a metal-reclamation plant from the 1960s to early 1980s. The company incinerated lead and plastic-cased telephone cables, or burned them in pits, in order to melt off the lead and reclaim the remaining copper wire. Plastic coverings were mechanically stripped before incineration; these coverings were stored on-site in piles.

Tests done by the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (PADEP) found high concentrations of lead and copper in the ash piles, soil, burn pit, and drainage pathway areas on the site. Approximately 6,100 people within three miles of the site depend on public and private wells as their source of drinking water. Private wells are located within one-half mile of the site. The nearest well is within 1,000 feet of the site. Private residences and a trailer park with approximately 280 people are located within a one-mile radius of the site.

Site Responsibility
Cleanup of this site is the responsibility of federal and state governments, and parties potentially responsible for site contamination.
NPL Listing History
Our 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 (NPL). This site was proposed to be listed on the NPL on September 15, 1985, and formally added to the list on July 22, 1987.

Threats and Contaminants

Heavy metals including lead and copper were found in on and off-site soils, sediments, surface water, and groundwater. Groundwater contamination, however, was not linked to the site. Potential risks once existed if people accidentally ingested or came in contact with contaminated soil, sediment, groundwater, or surface water. The site cleanup is now finished, reducing risks and protecting people.

Contaminant descriptions and risk factors are available from the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry, an arm of the CDC.

Cleanup Progress

In 1985, C&D Recycling excavated 68 tons of lead-containing material from the open burn pit areas, under the supervision of the PADEP. In September 1987, AT&T signed an EPA legal consent order, agreeing to construct a fence, seed contaminated areas, remove 1,000 tons of cable casings from the site, and take measures to control soil erosion. In September 1987, EPA issued an additional consent order to AT&T, requiring AT&T to identify the types of contamination and its location and also identify cleanup options. The investigations were completed in early 1992.

EPA reviewed the findings and selected a cleanup approach. EPA's decision is outlined in the Record of Decision dated September 1992. The selected cleanup involved removing and stabilizing soil, ash, and sediments from the stream and pond. These materials were disposed off-site. The site was then re-graded and seeded. In August 1994, EPA issued a unilateral order, requiring AT&T to design and carry out EPA's selected cleanup approach. The design was completed in May 1998.

Between 1996 and 1997, AT&T removed the remaining debris from the site. During the same time, AT&T also demolished and disposed of the old furnace. Soil and sediment cleanup started in June 1998 and are now finished. Ninety thousand tons of contaminated soils and sediment were stabilized and disposed offsite.

EPA sampled underground water at the site to check if construction work impacted the water quality. Testing in September 1999 and April 2000 found that the underground water meets safe standards set by the Safe Drinking Water Act. The agency also took samples of the sediments in the pond and Mill Hopper Creek in August 1999, August 2000, and September 2002 to confirm that the pond and creek sediments are safe for aquatic life.


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