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Jacks Creek / Sitkin Smelting & Refining, Inc.

EPA Region 3 (Mid-Atlantic)

Mifflin County
In Maitland

EPA ID# PAD980829493

5th Congressional District

Last Update: January 2015

Other Names

Sitkin Smelting Refining Inc.

Current Site Status

The second five-year review was completed on April 28, 2011 and found that the remedy was constructed in accordance with the requirements of the ROD, dated September 30, 1997 and is functioning as designed. EPA will initiate its third Five Year Review in 2015.  EPA will continue to monitor sampling results to verify there is no exposure to contaminated soils or sediment above established Site standards.  Institutional controls for the Site have been finalized in 2014.

Long-term protectiveness of the remedial action will be verified by continued monitoring of the multi-layer-cap, surface water, sediment, groundwater and fish and biota.

Site Description

The 105-acre Jacks Creek site is located in the village of Maitland in a rural farming area of Mifflin County, Pennsylvania. The site is a former smelting and precious metals reclamation facility. Sitkin Smelting Company operated at the site from 1958 until 1977. A portion of the site property is currently used for a metal scrap yard and an aluminum recycling facility. The site consists of a complex assortment of buildings, waste piles, scrap metal, and large areas of soil contaminated with heavy metals. Land surrounding the site is used for both residential and agricultural purposes. Jacks Creek is adjacent to the site on the northwest property boundary. Approximately 1,000 people live within three miles of the site, the majority of them are using private wells for their drinking water supply.
Site Responsibility
Cleanup of this site is the responsibility of federal and state governments and potentially responsible parties.
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 24, 1988 and formally added to the list on October 4, 1989.

Threats and Contaminants

Sampling results indicate that lead and other metals are present at low levels in on-site groundwater. On-site soils contain high levels of numerous metals such as lead, copper, zinc, cadmium, and polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs). The sediments of Jacks Creek near the site contain lead, zinc, and PCBs. People using Jacks Creek for recreation, such as fishermen, could be exposed to chemicals in the water through direct contact or by eating contaminated fish. A fish consumption advisory was issued April of 1999 by the Pennsylvania Department of Health, advising a one meal per month for brown trout, bluegill, rock bass, fallfish, and white suckers from the portion of Jacks Creek adjacent to the site.

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

Cleanup Progress

In 1991, EPA built berms on the site to control the erosion of on-site soils and waste piles into Jacks Creek. A plastic cover was placed on the largest waste pile to contain wastes left over from smelting operations. Low-level radioactive switches were removed from the site. Additionally, hazardous chemicals were also removed from an on-site building.

A 1990 study determined the nature and extent of contamination, and identified the best approaches for final cleanup at the site. Surface soils were found to be contaminated with heavy metals including antimony, cadmium, copper, lead, mercury, selenium, silver and zinc, and also organic contaminants including (PCBs). Lead levels as high as 159,000 parts per million (ppm) were detected in on-site soils, and large areas of the site are consistently above 10,000 ppm.

A de minimis settlement, which included 113 PRPs, was agreed to in September 1994. A total of $3.7 million was collected from all the parties in this settlement. Over two hundred PRPs at this site either refused the settlement offer, or are not eligible for a de minimis settlement. Special Notice Letters were sent to all PRPs who were not included in the 1994 de minimis settlement. Included in these letters was an Orphan Share Offer. An orphan share is the financial responsibility assigned to a PRP who is insolvent or defunct, and unaffiliated with other viable liable PRPs (Sitkin Smelting in this case). Orphan share compensation provides a major incentive for responsible parties to perform cleanups and settle claims quickly without litigation, and reduces transaction costs by wholly or partly resolving the question of who should bear the burden of orphan shares. A good faith offer from this PRP group was received by EPA in December 1997.

EPA issued a proposed plan for the entire site February 27, 1997. The public comment period closed April 28, 1997. A Record of Decision was issued September 30, 1997. EPA's selected remedy includes "hot spot" treatment of highly-contaminated soils at an off-site treatment facility and on-site consolidation and capping of the waste piles and the remaining contaminated soils. Sediments from depositional areas of Jacks Creek exceeding 110 ppm lead in the immediate vicinity of the site would be removed from the creek by vacuum dredging, and then consolidated with the waste piles and contaminated soils. Fish consumption advisories were issued for portions of Jacks Creek adjacent to the site. One-fifth of an acre of wetlands will be recreated in an on-site location. Long-term monitoring of the ground and surface water, as well as the fish and benthic organisms in Jacks Creek, shall be done as part of the operation and maintenance of the site.

An early Phase I cleanup was completed August 9, 2001. The cleanup included cleaning the church yard area adjacent to the site, demolishing dilapidated buildings, and removing underground storage tanks, ash material, transformers and the staging of drums until the contents are characterized and properly disposed of. The Responsible Parties submitted a Ninety Percent Design for the rest of the cleanup October 2001. EPA and PADEP provided comments on the Ninety Percent Design and are awaiting response to the comments from the responsible parties to move forward with the final design.

In 2001, during drum consolidation activities at the northwest corner of the former incinerator pad, a puddle of "green-tar-like" material was observed beneath several drum of green-colored soil. A solvent-odor was detected during drum removal activities. Samples of this green-tar material indicated the presence of Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs), PCBs, and Copper. On November 13, 2001, 40 cubic yards of the green-tar material was excavated and placed directly into a covered roll-off container. Confirmatory soil sampling and field observations confirmed that the extent of this green-tar material had been removed from the Site. On December 26, 2001, 38-tons of green-tar material were removed from the Site under hazardous waste manifest and transported to CWM Chemical Services of Model City, New York for treatment and disposal.
Targeted goals for construction year 2004 include the vacuum dredging of seven contaminated sediment deposits identified in Jacks Creek and the construction of the multi-layered cap in the soil staging area.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency oversaw the cleanup of the Jacks Creek site. In January 1999, approximately 110 parties responsible for site contamination (PRPs), the present owner, the EPA, and Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection signed a consent decree to develop plans for the site's cleanup. An early Phase I cleanup was completed August 9, 2001. The cleanup included cleaning the church yard area adjacent to the site, demolishing dilapidated buildings, and removing underground storage tanks, ash material, transformers and the staging of drums until the contents are characterized and properly disposed of.

During the winter of 2002, some of the lead contaminated soil from the H & H Trucking Area was excavated and removed and all lead contaminated soils above 40,000 ppm were excavated and removed for treatment on the site. Erosion and sedimentation basins were constructed to prevent lead contaminated soils from traveling into Jacks Creek during potential future storm events. In the spring of 2003, a haul road in the scrap yard and decontamination pads were constructed so that cross contamination would not occur when vehicles were moving scrap out of operational areas.

A multi-layered cap has been constructed to ensure that rain water and erosion will not move lead contaminated soils from this area. More heavily contaminated soils in this area have been stabilized with layers of concrete. Additional work conducted during Spring of 2003 included: construction of six sediment basins, sampling within Jacks Creek to identify sediment deposits for removal, restoration of wetlands in the North Woods, silt fence was placed along the walls of Jacks Creek, as well as additional measures to help control soil movement and erosion along the creek.

The following remedial activities were completed in 2004: Removal of contaminated sediments via vacuum dredging from depositional areas of Jacks Creek, grading of the consolidation area, placement of limestone screenings over the consolidated materials, placement of PVC liner over the consolidated soils, placement of geonet over the PVC liner, and placement of cover soils over the geonet liner with proper drainage features. Erosion and sedimentation controls were repaired/constructed as needed due to frequent storm events. On November 18, 2004 the pre-final inspection was conducted by EPA and PADEP with minor issues found. EPA wrote an Explanation of Significan Difference to incorporate all the institutional controls needed on the H & H Trucking Building and Krentzman Building to prohibit any excavation or disturbance of the buildings due to possible lead contamination under the buildings. EPA finished the Preliminary Close-Out Report for Jacks Creek on December 23, 2004. Monitoring of the ground and surface water, as well as fish and benthos are planned as part of the operation and maintenance activities at the site.

EPA finished the Preliminary Close-Out Report for Jacks Creek on December 23, 2004. Monitoring of the ground and surface water, as well as fish and benthos are planned as part of the operation and maintenance activities at the site.


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