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Hebelka Auto Salvage Yard

EPA Region 3 (Mid-Atlantic)

Lehigh County
Weisenberg Township

EPA ID# PAD980829329

15th Congressional District

Last Update: December 2009
Final Update

Other Names


Current Site Status

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency determined in 1991 that no further cleanup was necessary for the Hebelka Auto Salvage Yard site, because the contamination could not come in contact with the public. EPA removed the monitoring wells in early 1995, revegetated those areas, and conducted an environmental evaluation to insure the effectiveness of the remedy at the site later that year. The site was deleted from the EPA’s list of Superfund sites, the National Priorities List (NPL), in September 1999.

Site Description

The Hebelka Auto Salvage Yard site occupies approximately 20 acres within the headwaters of the Iron Run subdrainage basin. The property is approximately 9 miles west of Allentown, Pennsylvania, and is has been the location since 1958 of an automobile junkyard and salvage operation involving junk cars; used storage tanks; and miscellaneous scrap metal, tires, empty drums, and debris. Sometime during this period, approximately 1,000 cubic yards of used battery casings, most broken and empty, were accumulated at the site.

Two separate battery piles are present at the site, and the major on-site contaminant was lead in soils downgradient from the battery piles. Battery liquid and residual solid waste samples exhibited high concentrations for lead and acidity. Lead concentrations in the battery liquids ranged between 7,320 and 1,100,000 parts per billion. Lead in the residual solids ranged between 110,000 and 361,000 milligrams per kilogram, while lead concentrations in soil ranged from less than 500 to over 609,000 milligrams per kilogram.

Site Responsibility
This site was addressed through federal and state 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 June 10, 1986 and formally added to the list July 22, 1987.

Threats and Contaminants

One unfiltered ground water sample showed elevated levels of lead, but the sample was muddy and inconclusive. Ground water was resampled during two additional and separate phases of the investigation; during these rounds of tests, lead was either not detected or was present at levels within the range deemed safe for human health. Sediments, soil, and sludges were contaminated with lead from former disposal practices but have been removed and disposed of. Although Iron Run is a tributary to Lehigh Creek, it does not appear that contamination has spread downstream.

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

Cleanup Progress

A March 1989, Record of Decision (ROD) selected a remedy to prevent the ingestion of lead-contaminated particles of battery pile materials and soil in excess of health-based levels by removing them from the site and treating and/or disposing of them using methods protective of public health and the environment. Work included removal of the battery casings from the site for recycling or disposal; excavation of lead-contaminated soil above a health-based risk level of 560 milligrams per kilogram, off-site fixation of the soil utilizing a cement or lime-based fixation process, and depositing the fixation matrix in a Resource Conservation and Recovery Act Subtitle D permitted municipal landfill; and clean soil backfill and regrading/revegetation. Twenty-seven truckloads, a total of 1,045 cubic yards of battery casings, were removed from the site for disposal. For the soil cleanup, scrap metal, trash, the remains of junk cars and approximately 8,000 old automotive tires had to be decontaminated and relocated elsewhere on the site. A total of 8,748 tons of contaminated soil (5,067 tons hazardous, 3,681 tons non-hazardous) were removed from the site for treatment/disposal. The site was backfilled with clean soil obtained locally, regraded, seeded and furnished with erosion control measures where needed. Construction cost for this work was $2,244,680.

In a separate ROD, EPA determined that no further action was necessary at the site because contamination pathways via the site media posed no current or potential threat to human health and the environment. EPA removed the monitoring wells in early 1995, revegetated those areas, and conducted an environmental evaluation to insure the effectiveness of the remedy at the site later that year. All construction at the Hebelka Auto Salvage Yard site has been completed, and the site was deleted from the National Priorities List (NPL) in September 1999.


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