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Lehigh Electric and Engineering

Current Site Information

EPA Region 3 (Mid-Atlantic)

Pennsylvania
Lackawanna County
Borough of Old Forge

EPA ID# PAD980712731

11th Congressional District

Last Update: February 2013

Other Names

None

Current Site Status

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency conducted the cleanup at the Lehigh Electric and Engineering Company site. The cleanup was complete in 1986 and the agency deleted the site from the National Priorities List of the nation's most hazardous waste sites. The Fourth Five-Year Review was completed in February 2010 and results indicated that an additional groundwater well should be installed and additional soil sampling should be conducted to re-assess the current conditions. The field work is completed and EPA is evaluating the results.

Site Description

The Lehigh Electric and Engineering Company site, Borough of Old Forge Lackawanna County, Pennsylvania, is a 5 ½-acre site operated as part of a coal processing facility. From the mid-1970s until 1981, the site served as an electrical equipment repair and storage yard. About 4,000 transformers and capacitors were stored at the facility where indiscriminate handling and disposal of dielectric fluids containing polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) occurred. The Lackawanna River is located less than 1,000 feet down slope of the site. Contamination of the groundwater and the Lackawanna River was possible because the PCB-contaminated soil located on site is highly permeable, and the site is located in the river's flood plain. No residents within a three-mile radius of the site rely on groundwater as a source of drinking water. The site is adjacent to a residential area where approximately 150 people live.

Electrical equipment and debris on site were contaminated with PCBs. EPA investigations also revealed high concentrations of PCBs in on-site soil. The nearby population health was threatened by ingestion, direct contact, and inhalation of PCB-contaminated soils and contact with PCB-contaminated equipment. There also was a risk associated with the ingestion of PCB-contaminated fish, game, and other biota prior to cleanup activities.

Site Responsibility

This site was addressed through Federal 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 December 30, 1982 and formally added to the list on September 8, 1983. The site was deleted from the list on March 7, 1986.

Threats and Contaminants

Electrical equipment and debris on site were contaminated with PCBs. EPA investigations also revealed high concentrations of PCBs in on-site soil. The nearby population health was threatened by ingestion, direct contact, and inhalation of PCB-contaminated soils and contact with PCB-contaminated equipment. There also was a risk associated with the ingestion of PCB-contaminated fish, game, and other biota prior to cleanup activities.

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

Cleanup Progress

This site was cleaned up in two stages: Stage I involved the removal of transformers, transformer contents, and surface debris from the site; Stage II addressed the removal of contaminated soils and buildings from the site. In 1981, the EPA fenced the site and analyzed soil and water samples. In 1982, the EPA completed the removal of all surface equipment and debris. In 1984, the EPA completed the removal of PCB-contaminated soil, the excavation of additional soil, demolition of on-site buildings, backfilling, grading, and vegetating of the site. All cleanup activities have been completed at the Lehigh Electric and Engineering Company site. In 1986, the EPA deleted this site from the NPL

In the most recent Five Year Review one well had elevated levels of PCB concentrations in groundwater. EPA conducted investigation in 2003 and 2005 which indicated that the high concentration of a PCB oil layer is limited to only one well on the property. Low levels of PCBs were detected in sols along surface water drainage culvert. PADEP will continue to monitor the Site. Deed restrictions have been placed on the property to prohibit future us of groundwater. The Fourth Five-Year Review was completed in February 2010 and results indicated that an additional groundwater well should be installed and additional soil sampling should be conducted to re-assess the current conditions. The field work is completed and EPA is evaluating the results.

Contacts

Site Contacts

Administrative Record Locations

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