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Walsh Landfill

EPA Region 3 (Mid-Atlantic)

Chester County
on Welsh Road in Honey Brook Township

EPA ID# PAD980829527

6th Congressional District

Last Update: January 2015

Other Names

Barkman Landfill
Welsh Landfill

Current Site Status

Currently the site is in Operation and Maintenance Phase. All construction is complete.

The PRP is tasked with preparing and submitting a report that evaluates the functional equivalence of the Evaporation/Transportation cover system.

The Evaporation/Transport cover system is comprised of 90% Hybrid Poplars and 10% native species (Oak, Willow etc.)

The 4th Five year review of the site is due in May 2016.

Site Description

The Walsh Landfill Site (also known as the "Welsh Landfill") is situated on approximately eight acres along a forested ridge about two miles north of Honey Brook, Chester County, Pennsylvania. The Site was operated as a sanitary landfill from before 1970 until 1977, but a state permit was never issued for the disposal of solid waste. Investigations in the 1980s revealed that the facility accepted industrial and hazardous waste, as well as municipal trash, and that several monitoring and domestic wells in the area were contaminated with both organic and inorganic compounds. The Site is bordered to the south by a narrow band of trees, beyond which are farmlands. The surrounding area is rural and residential, with 300 homes or occupied buildings within a three-mile radius of the site and 40 residences within ½-mile. Approximately 1,200 people live within three-quarters of a mile of the Site.
Site Responsibility
Cleanup of this Site is the responsibility of federal and state governments, and parties potentially responsible for site contamination.
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

The on-site groundwater contains mercury, toluene, and other volatile organic compounds (VOCs) from former disposal practices. Residential well water off site was found to contain chloromethane, chloroform, xylenes, and other VOCs, as well as lead, mercury, and zinc. Direct contact with or drinking contaminated groundwater, as well as inhaling volatile contaminants that evaporate from groundwater or that occur in gases or vapors, may threaten the health of those in the area. Trespassers could be exposed to chemicals by coming in direct contact with soils, sediments, or waste remaining on-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 1985, EPA approved the funds to start removing contaminated materials. The work was divided between EPA and the owner, who conducted on-site cleanup and disposed of 26 drums. EPA performed soil sampling and off-site well monitoring to determine the extent of contamination. Drummed wastes were removed from the site. In 1989, the State of Pennsylvania began providing bottled water to 44 homes.

In June 1990, EPA issued a Record of Decision (ROD) which called for the extension of the municipal water line to the affected areas, capping the landfill, resource recovery, and restrictions on the use of the land. In 1991, EPA issued a Unilateral Administrative Order (UAO) to the site owner, requiring him to remove all debris and salvage materials from the surface of the landfill in an environmentally sound manner. Initially, the site owner complied with the UAO, but removal operations ceased when one half of the site was cleared.

The landfill cap design was completed by EPA in 1993. However, construction of the landfill cap was contingent upon the site owner relocating his businesses from the site. EPA has taken legal action against the site owner. In December 1998, a U.S. District Court issued an Order granting the United States' and the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania's Motions for Summary Judgment. The United States' Motion for Enforcement of EPA's Unilateral Order was also granted and the site owner was ordered to comply with the UAO immediately under penalty of contempt. In 2002, the United States Department of Justice filed a Motion for Contempt on behalf of EPA requesting the Court issue an Order to Show Cause why the site owner should not be held in contempt for his failure to comply with the December 1998 Order. In early 2003, the court issued an Order, based upon a negotiated Stipulation and Schedule in which the site owner admitted contempt and set forth a schedule with milestones and reporting requirements. The site owner relocated his businesses and cleared all materials from the surface of the Site by November 2003

In 1998, forty-five (45) residences in the Route 10/Welsh Road corridor were connected to the water line extension project and the bottled water program was discontinued. A year later, the Honey Brook Borough Authority accepted the final phase of the water line extension project which included the water treatment facility, production well, and remaining water mains.

In July 2003, EPA amended the Record of Decision (ROD) to employ an Evaporation/ Transpiration (ET) cover system rather than a multi-media cap, as selected in the 1990 ROD. Construction of the ET cover system was completed in September 2006.

A group of responsible parties agreed to comply with an EPA Order for the design and construction of an Evaporation/Transpiration (ET) cover system. The ET cover system consists of a soil cover with densely planted, deep rooting hybrid poplar trees and shallow rooting plants. With this type of cover system, surface water infiltration will be reduced through the landfill, thereby preventing further degradation of groundwater quality. A groundwater monitoring plan is included and will provide a means for evaluating the performance of the cover system, as well as providing additional groundwater data for the second operable unit (OU2). Construction of the ET cover system was completed in September 2006. A Record of Decision (ROD) for the groundwater operable unit (OU2) was issued by EPA in February 2006. The components of the OU2 remedy include measures for long-term term groundwater monitoring and institutional controls to restrict future groundwater use at the Site.

EPA completed a Five-Year Review of the Site in May 2011. The Five-Year Review determined that the remedy at the Walsh Landfill is protective In the short-Ierm because all exposure pathways that could result in unacceptable risks are being controlled. The Site will be fully protective when the Remedial Action Objectives have been achieved. Monitoring of groundwater is expected to continue until cleanup goals are met. An evaluation of the functional equivalence of the ET cover system to the requirements for final covers under the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania's Solid Waste Regulations will be made during the next (2016) Five-Year Review.

The vapor intrusion pathway and off-site landfill gas migration do not pose an unacceptable risk to any homes located adjacent to the Site. Institutional controls are in place for the Site. An electronic version of the Five-Year Report is available by searching on the EPA's Five Year Review Online page.


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