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Taylor Borough Dump

EPA Region 3 (Mid-Atlantic)

Lackawanna County
Taylor Borough
3 miles south of City of Scranton

EPA ID# PAD980693907

11th Congressional District

Last Update: February 2014

Other Names

Old City of Scranton Landfill #1

Current Site Status

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency deleted the Taylor Borough Dump from the agency's National Priorities List of the nation's most hazardous waste sites on September 30, 1999. The City of Scranton has taken over responsibility to conduct operation and maintenance (O&M) activities at the site to ensure the protectiveness of the soil cover. A Five-Year Review Report was completed for the Site on June 24, 2013. The remedy remains protective and is performing as expected.

Site Description

The Taylor Borough Dump, located in Lackawanna County, Pennsylvania, is a privately owned, inactive landfill that covers 125 acres. The City of Scranton, located about three miles north of the site, used the former underground and strip mine as a municipal dump from 1964 through 1968. The unfenced site was placed on the National Priorities List because approximately 1,200 drums containing hazardous organic chemicals and heavy metals had been dumped illegally there. Drums were found in six main areas on the site. Wastes had escaped from the drums and contaminated the soil, surface water, sediments, groundwater, and the surrounding air. Even after the EPA built a fence around the area, trespassers breached it to bike, jog, and hunt on the site. The landfill is near a residential area and a community park. It is estimated that 1,000 people live within a one-mile radius of the site, and 10,000 people live within three miles of the site. A residential development borders the southeastern edge of the landfill, but the nearest dwelling is several hundred feet from the closest area used for drum waste disposal. Residents obtain water from a surface water supply that does not receive runoff from the site. Contaminants in the groundwater on site included phthalic acid esters, polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), chlordane, and arsenic. Contaminants detected in sediments included antimony, arsenic, lead, and PCBs. On-site soils contained phthalic acid esters, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), arsenic, and lead. Off-site surface water contained lead, chlordane, and PCBs.
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 September 21, 1984.

Threats and Contaminants

Background air on the site and at a nearby residence showed the presence of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and chlordane, a pesticide. People who came in direct contact with, inhaled, or accidentally ingested contaminants were at risk. Residents using ponds on-site for recreation and fishing may have been at risk from contact with contaminated water or from eating contaminated fish.

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, a fire broke out on the surface of the landfill and drums became partially buried due to mine spoil pushed over burning areas to extinguish the fire. EPA conducted a removal operation that involved disposal, drum repacking, organization of materials, control of contaminant movement, excavation, security restoration, and sampling. A total of 1,141 drums were removed from the site. In 1987, a Consent Decree (CD) was signed between EPA and five settling potential responsible parties (PRPs) to implement the remedial action. The remedy featured removal and off-site disposal of 125 drums and remnants; collection and treatment of contaminated water in ponds; excavation and off-site disposal of contaminated soils; and construction of a soil cover over the area. This cleanup work was completed in 1988. Source control actions were effective in preventing further release of contaminants to the ground water. Testing of ground water following removal of contaminated soils and treatment of pond water showed that ground water was within safe levels. Therefore, no additional ground water cleanup was required. In addition to the O&M activities required by the Records of Decision (ROD), EPA conducted additional post-remediation activities. These activities included: surface water, sediment, and biota sampling of Ponds 7 & 8, landfill gas monitoring; on-site and residential ambient air monitoring; and storm water sampling. Results of the sampling conducted showed that the remedy is performing as expected. EPA is conducting operation and maintenance (O&M) activities at the site to ensure the protectiveness of the soil cover. During the month of January 2011, EPA completed a number of activities at the Taylor Borough Dump Superfund Site in preparation to hand the Operation and Maintenance responsibilities over to the City of Scranton. The activities included the closure of a drainage borehole in consultation with PADEP, removal of woody scrub from the cap and fence line, and minor repairs to the cap, a drainage trench, the access road, and the fence line. The City of Scranton has since taken over O&M from EPA per a 2008 Consent Decree. A Five-Year Review Report was completed for the Site on June 24, 2013.  The remedy remains protective and is performing as expected. 


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