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Westinghouse Elevator Company Plant

EPA Region 3 (Mid-Atlantic)

Adams County
Cumberland Township

EPA ID# PAD043882281

19th Congressional District

Last Update: January 2015

Other Names

Westinghouse #3

Current Site Status

Site Description

The Westinghouse Elevator Co. Plant manufactured elevators on this 85-acre site in Adams County, Pennsylvania. The plant has been leased to Schindler Elevator Corporation. The elevators are processed through a paint and degreasing line that uses solvents. Until 1980, the company put the waste solvents and sludges into drums and disposed of them through a local hauler. In 1983, in response to concerns presented by the Adams County Community Environmental Control, the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (PADEP) investigated three contaminated sites in the Gettysburg area, including the Westinghouse plant. Further studies found that about 20 private wells around the plant also were highly contaminated with trichloroethylene (TCE) and trichloroethane which were used as degreasing solvents in the elevator plant. Plant contamination has been attributed to solvent spills. The population within three miles of the site is approximately 13,500. Adjacent to the site are streams that flow into Rock Creek, which may be used for irrigation and swimming.
Site Responsibility
This site is being addressed through federal, state, and potentially responsible parties' actions.
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. This site was proposed to the list on October 15, 1984 and formally added to the list on June 10, 1986.

Threats and Contaminants

The ground water and surface water are contaminated with TCE, trichloroethane and dichloroethylenes from solvent spills at the site. TCE has been detected in ground water at levels greatly exceeding MCLs and has contaminated nearby wells. Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) have been detected in neighboring stream samples. Very low levels of metals and VOCs were detected in some surface soils. Soils contaminated with VOCs were removed, but some deep soils may still pose a threat to ground water from leaching. Nearby residents using wells for drinking water would be at risk.

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

Cleanup Progress

In 1983, Westinghouse removed 43 drums of solvent contaminated soil from areas at the plant. In 1984, Westinghouse installed water mains to the areas with contaminated wells and offered residents the opportunity to be connected to public water. In 1984, Westinghouse also installed one extraction well to control the migration of highly contaminated ground water from the plant. The water from this well contained the carcinogen TCE at levels 8000 times the safe drinking water standard. The water was treated with an air stripper and the effluent discharged to a nearby stream. Westinghouse also installed a limited number of monitoring wells.

Westinghouse completed a full environmental investigation of the site called Remedial Investigation/Feasibility Study (RI/FS) for ground water, surface water, sediments and soils. EPA issued a document explaining the cleanup methods at the site called a Record of Decision (ROD) for ground water, surface water and sediments in June, 1992. This ROD required pumping the contaminated groundwater out of the ground and treating it until it is clean. After lengthy unsuccessful negotiations with Westinghouse to clean up the site, EPA issued a unilateral order to the company in December 1992, compelling Westinghouse to complete the cleanup. After a supplementary Remedial Investigation (RI) was completed, EPA issued a ROD for site soils in March, 1995, which required no additional action.

The design for a full-scale pump and treat system for both off-site and on-site groundwater was completed in 1995, and the project constructed in 1996. Pilot operation of a full scale pump and treat system began in October, 1996. The system appears to be capturing the contaminated ground water as required by the ROD. In 1997, Westinghouse connected additional homes to a municipal water line when sampling detected low levels of VOCs in residential wells in this area. Minor modifications of the system were completed in the winter of 1997/8. All construction was completed as of September 1998.

No additional work is required except long term semi-annual monitoring of the pump and treatment system. In June 2001, EPA completed a five-year review for the site which includes five years of groundwater monitoring data. The U.S. Geological Survey completed a detailed groundwater model which verified that the system was functioning properly. The contaminant levels have dropped 2 to 10 fold. However, the reduction trend in contaminant levels seems to have reached a steady state The remedy is protective, but the system will need to operate for many years to restore groundwater to drinking water standards. The Gettysburg area is developing rapidly and is dependent on ground water. The presence of the contaminant plume at the Westinghouse site has limited the placement of new municipal wells.

The PRP has voluntarily conducted a screening process to investigate exposure pathways due to vapor intrusion. PRP submitted VI assessment report in August 2005. The report findings indicated that there were no VI exposure threats to the near by homes.

The third five-year review of implemented remedy was conducted in June 2011.The protectiveness of the implemented remedy was deferred pending inclusion of 1,4 Dioxane as a part of Operation and Maintenance (O&M) monitoring, an indoor vapor intrusion investigation due to changes in the Site conditions and issuance of an Explanation of Significant Difference (ESD) modifying the remedy to include an Institutional Control (IC) requiring a municipal ordinance restricting potable use of groundwater. Currently, the Cumberland Township does have an ordinance requiring any new real estate development to connect to the existing public water supply system. Seven residents elected not to be hooked to the public water supply constructed during the remedy implementation, and these resident wells are being annually monitored as a part of O&M monitoring. No public comment was received on this Five-Year Review.


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