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Foote Mineral Company

September 1998 - Fact Sheet

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) prepared this update to keep you informed of environmental investigations underway at the Foote Mineral Co. Superfund Site located in East Whiteland Township, Chester County, Pennsylvania. This fact sheet provides information on:

Where is the Site and What Happened There?

The Foote Mineral Co. Site occupies 79 acres on Bacton Hill Road in East Whiteland Township. The site is made up of two large quarries, a solvent burn pit, a lined settling basin, and more than 50 plant buildings and process areas. (See site map below.) From 1942 to 1991, Foote Mineral Co., Cyprus Foote Mineral Company, and the Department of Defense owned and/or conducted operations at the site. Operations at the facility included crushing and sizing minerals and alloys, manufacturing lithium chemicals both solid and liquid forms, and processing lithium metals. These operations generated large amounts of waste which was disposed of on the property. These disposal practices at the site resulted in:

After investigations by EPA and the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (PaDEP), EPA added the site to the National Priorities List (NPL) in October 1992, making it eligible for cleanup under the Superfund Program. (See page 3 for more information on Superfund.)

What Has Happened Recently?

In September 1996, EPA and Cyprus Foote signed a legal agreement, requiring Cyprus Foote to investigate the type and amount of contamination at the site. Contractors for Cyprus Foote began field work for the remedial investigation in 1997, and submitted a draft Remedial Investigation Report to EPA in November 1997. EPA is currently reviewing and commenting on the draft report. In addition to the field work, contractors also dismantled the remaining site buildings and disposed of the building debris offsite. Upon completing any additional field work and receiving final approval of the report from EPA, Cyprus Foote will evaluate cleanup methods available to address contamination at the site and submit that evaluation to EPA.

How Did EPA Get to This Point?

In June 1990, Cyprus Foote, a potentially responsible party (PRP), entered into another legal agreement with EPA. PRPs are companies or individuals potentially responsible for, or contributing to, the contamination at a Superfund site. This agreement required Cyprus Foote to conduct a groundwater survey of the area, provide an alternate drinking water supply to potentially affected residents and conduct a five-year monitoring program to ensure the continued safety of private drinking water supplies. As part of the groundwater monitoring program, contractors routinely sample nearby residential wells. The most recent sampling results indicated that no resident are exposed to unsafe drinking water levels.

In 1992, contractors for Cyprus Foote removed two underground storage tanks and excavated 15,000 cubic yards of potentially contaminated soil located beneath a leaking petroleum storage tank. The soil was piled onsite and treated using bioremediation, which uses biological organisms, such as bacteria, to destroy contaminants by breaking them down into non-toxic compounds.

What is the Superfund Program?

Superfund is the federal government's program to clean up uncontrolled or abandoned hazardous waste sites. Superfund gives EPA the authority to:

Below is a brief synopsis of the activities involved in the Superfund process.

Finding Hazardous Waste Sites

Under Superfund, EPA investigates hazardous waste sites throughout the country. EPA evaluates each site's potential to contaminate groundwater, surface water, soil or air. EPA also takes into account other factors, such as the location of nearby residences, and places the most serious sites on the National Priorities List (NPL). The NPL is a list of hazardous waste sites scheduled for cleanup under the Superfund Program.

Identifying Contamination and Cleanup Methods

After placing a site on the NPL, the next step is to identify the types and amount of contamination present and potential human health and environmental effects. Next, EPA evaluates different cleanup methods to address contamination and determine the best cleanup options for the particular site.

Choosing a Cleanup Method

EPA presents several cleanup options and identifies a recommended action in a document called the Proposed Remedial Action Plan. After issuing this Proposed Plan, EPA holds a public meeting and comment period so that community members can comment on the cleanup options. After reviewing and considering all comments, EPA announces the option selected in a legal document called the Record of Decision (ROD).

Cleaning Up the Site

Once EPA selects a cleanup method, designs and work plans are developed according to specifications in the ROD. After designs are finalized, actual construction and cleanup work begins. When appropriate cleanup actions are complete, EPA will delete the site from the NPL and continue to monitor the site to ensure that cleanup levels are being achieved.

EPA Contacts/Questions/Site Mailing List

If you would like more information about the Foote Mineral Site, have a question or comment, or would like to be added to the site mailing list, please contact one of the EPA officials listed below. If leaving a message, please be sure to include your name, phone number, and/or address and mention the Foote Mineral Site.

Community Involvement Coordinator
Lisa Brown (3HS43)
U.S. EPA, Region III
1650 Arch Street
Philadelphia, PA 19103

Remedial Project Manager
Jim Feeney (3HS21)
U.S. EPA, Region III
1650 Arch Street
Philadelphia, PA 19103

Other Site Information Is Available

EPA is currently in the process of establishing a local Information Repository for the Foote Mineral Site. The Information Repository contains the Administrative Record File, which is EPA's official collection of documents, data, reports and other information regarding the site. Once a location is established, EPA will place a notice in the Daily Local News to inform the local community. Currently, you can review the Administrative Record File at EPA Region III headquarters at the address below.

U.S. EPA, Region III
Docket Room
1650 Arch Street
Philadelphia, PA 19103
Attn: Anna Butch
Please call for an appointment.

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