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Mill Creek Dump

EPA Region 3 (Mid-Atlantic)

Erie County
Millcreek Township
2 miles west of Erie

EPA ID# PAD980231690

3rd Congressional District

Last Update: January 2015

Other Names

Fuchs Landfill
Harpor Drive Dump

Current Site Status

The remedy for the Millcreek Dump site was completed, in September 2001, and the site is now in long-term operation and maintenance. The remedy for the site consisted of the construction of a cap and a golf course on top of the former landfill, a flood retention basin and the creation of eight acres of wetlands on property adjacent to the Site. The remedy also includes the extraction and treatment of contaminated groundwater, which, after treatment, is discharged into Marshall Run, an adjacent stream that feeds into Lake Erie. Since October 2007, the treatment plant has been operated by the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection ("PADEP"). A Five Year Review report, issued in September 2011, stated that the remedy is functioning as designed and is currently protective of human health and the environment. However, to ensure long-term protectiveness, EPA will further evaluate the extent of contamination and the groundwater monitoring system.

Site Description

Millcreek Dump is an 124-acre site comprised of 84 acres of a former freshwater wetland that was used as a dump for foundry sands, solvents, waste oils, and other industrial and municipal wastes. Over a 40 year period, all but four acres of the marsh were filled.  The site also includes a 40-acre strip of land adjacent to the railroad track where PRPs will have constructed a flood retention basin and wetlands. For a time, the operators reclaimed metals from foundry sands and excavated a deep pond to supply the wash water. Groundwater is contaminated with volatile organic compounds (VOCs) from the former waste disposal practices. Soil and sediments contain high levels of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), and heavy metals. Contaminated groundwater, soils, sediments, and surface water drain into Lake Erie. The site is bordered by a Conrail-owned rail line to the south, the Erie International Airport to the west and developed residential and commercial areas on all other sides. An estimated 2,000 people work or live within 2,500 feet of the site.

Site Responsibility
This site is being addressed through Federal 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 September 8, 1983 and formally added to the list on September 21, 1984.

Threats and Contaminants

Groundwater is contaminated with VOCs from the former waste disposal practices. Soil and sediments contain PAHs, PCBs, and heavy metals. Contaminated groundwater is cleaned in the treatment plant prior to draining into Lake Erie.

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

Cleanup Progress

Initial actions started in 1983. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) built fences and gates across access roads; demolished sheds on site; crushed 600 clean, empty drums and sent them to a metals recycling facility; removed 100 drums of hazardous liquids, 70 to be landfilled and 30 to be incinerated at EPA-approved facilities; and stored 364 drums filled with non-hazardous material in the northeast corner of the site. In 1986, EPA also put up 1,820 feet of wire-mesh fence in eight locations, installed a gate, and posted warning signs. EPA ordered the potentially responsible parties (PRPs) to conduct the design and construction of the remedy. Construction of the groundwater treatment system was completed, in early 1992. In 1995, four PRPs (Ralph Riehl, Jr., Ethyl Corporation, Hammermill Paper Company, and Parker White Metal Company) signed a Consent Decree to operate the fully functional and operational system for ten years. EPA and the State agreed that the system was fully operational and functional in 1997, and on October 1,1997, the PRPs took over the operation and maintenance of the treatment system at the site. After ten years, the PRPs were replaced by PADEP. PADEP requested EPA to evaluate a capture zone in the vicinity of the plant, and EPA agreed to perform this task in 2008. The evaluation indicated that there may be areas where contaminants are not being fully captured.  Currently, EPA is evaluating potential enhancement of the remedy to improve the capture zone.
Design of a cap began in early 1991. The design revealed an erratic distribution of contaminants throughout the site, which made delineation and consolidation of highly concentrated waste infeasible. In March 1992, 19 PRPs agreed to construct the soil cap and a flood retention basin. The process of the construction of the cap, however, was obstructed by the difficulties in obtaining access to Conrail's property. In November 1996, the PRPs and the Township requested that EPA modify the initial remedy, changing the requirements for the cap to allow the construction of a golf course over the cap. EPA formally approved this concept in the Explanation of Significant Differences (ESD), issued in May 1997. In 1997, the PRPs replaced street culverts and reconstructed the access road.

On February 9, 1998, EPA received the plans and specifications for the golf course construction. During the review of these plans, an issue of wetlands replacement was brought by the US Department of Interior and EPA. In November/December 1998, the PRPs presented a proposal to construct eight acres of wetlands on an area adjacent to the site. On March 8, 1999 EPA approved the revised documentation for the cap/golf course construction and wetlands replacement. The approved changes are reflected in ESD No. 2, which EPA issued in May 1999. Wetlands delineation was approved in September 1999. Construction of a cap, a golf course, wetlands, and a flood retention basin began, in the spring of 2000, and was completed in September 2001. In the same month, EPA issued its second Five Year Review Report, which confirmed the functionality of the selected remedy.

In 2011, with EPA and PADEP approvals, Erie International Airport began construction activities to extend a runway into the western portion of the site. The fourth Five Year Review report, issued in September 2011, stated that the remedy is functioning as designed and is currently protective of human health and the environment. However, to ensure long-term protectiveness, EPA will continue to evaluate the groundwater treatment system and the extent of contamination


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