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Croydon TCE

EPA Region 3 (Mid-Atlantic)

Bucks County
Bristol Township

EPA ID# PAD981035009

8th Congressional District

Last Update: February 2014

Other Names

Croydon TCE Spill

Current Site Status

In 1990, in accordance with the Record of Decision (ROD) issued on December 28, 1988, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) connected homes within the Croydon TCE groundwater contamination plume to the Borough of Bristol Water and Sewage Department water supply. Per the remedy set forth in the ROD issued on June 29, 1990, as modified by an Explanation of Significant Differences issued on December 31, 1996, EPA later constructed a groundwater extraction and treatment system to cleanup contaminated groundwater at the Croydon TCE site. EPA began operating the system in 1995. Pursuant to an agreement between the United States and the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, if after 10 years groundwater cleanup goals are not achieved the Commonwealth assumes responsibility for the ongoing operation and maintenance of the system. Groundwater sampling results indicate that the concentration of contaminants have decreased since the system began operation in 1995. However, site groundwater cleanup goals have not yet been achieved. As a result, EPA transferred responsibility for operation and maintenance of the groundwater extraction and treatment system to the Commonwealth. The Pennsylvania Department of the Environment (PADEP) assumed full responsibility for the system in January 2006. In March 2009, PADEP initiated a rebound test to better evaluate the effectiveness of the groundwater extraction system on reducing contaminate concentrations in groundwater. As part of this test, the groundwater treatment system was temporarily shut-down. Groundwater monitoring is being conducted, as required. PADEP and EPA are evaluating the results of the monitoring conducted while the system is shut-down to determine whether the remedy should be modified.

In 2011, EPA conducted a Five-Year Review of the cleanup remedy at the Site. EPA is required to conduct this review to ensure that the remedy remains protective of human health and the environment. As required, a similar review will be conducted every five years. A copy of the final 5-Year Review Report, dated December 7, 2011, is available on the Internet at www.epa.gov/5yr. The assessment of the Site by the 2011 Five-Year Review found that the remedy had been constructed in accordance with the requirements of the RODs, as modified. The immediate threats have been addressed though the extension of a municipal water supply system. EPA evaluated the potential for vapor intrusion, and it is not considered to be a threat at the Site. 1,4-dioxane was not found above detection limits in Site groundwater in three separate sampling events. EPA coordinated with state and local authorities to ensure that all businesses and residents in the area are connected to public water, and that Bristol Township requires any new construction in the area be connected to public water. Although the groundwater system is currently shut down for a rebound evaluation, extraction, treatment and monitoring of the groundwater have been conducted as required. As a result, the Remedy is considered protective of human health and the environment.

Site Description

The Croydon TCE site is located in a four-square-mile residential area between Croydon and Bristol, Bucks County, Pennsylvania, that also hosts several industrial complexes and small businesses. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) identified the Croydon TCE site in 1985 after an investigation at a neighboring Rohm & Haas industrial plant revealed a plume of groundwater contamination that did not appear to be associated with that plant. Approximately 18,000 people living within three miles of the site depend on the Delaware River for drinking water. About 200 people living within three miles of the site depend on private wells.
Site Responsibility
Cleanup of this site is the responsibility of the federal government.
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 proposed to the National Priorities List. This site was proposed to the list on September 18, 1985 and formally added to the list on June 10, 1986.

Threats and Contaminants

TCE and other volatile organic compounds (VOCs), which are chemical components of solvents and degreasers, were detected in the groundwater, including eight residential wells. Several VOCs were detected in the surface water samples from Hog Run Creek. This creek, a tributary of the Delaware River, is also used for recreation. Contamination from the creek may pose a risk to game animals, such as fish and waterfowls. Contamination may also pose a health risk to individuals who: (1) eat the affected game animals; (2) drink the contaminated ground or surface water; and (3) accidentally come into contact with/or ingest the contaminated soils.

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

Cleanup Progress

Although no definite source of contamination could be identified, EPA issued two Records of Decisions (RODs), outlining how the site would be cleaned up. In the December 1988 ROD, EPA extended an existing waterline and connected ten homes and one commercial establishment affected by the contamination. In the June 1990 ROD, EPA decided to pump out and treat the contaminated groundwater using an air stripper.

While designing the pump and treat system, EPA determined that one of the TCE plumes had intermingled with another plume originating from the Rohm & Haas plant. Since the ammonium sulfate from Rohm & Haas' plume would interfere with EPA's treatment of TCE, EPA issued a modification to its decision and omitted the interfering plume from the cleanup. Instead, EPA redirected Rohm & Haas to clean up the TCE plume which is intermingling with the Rohm & Haas plume.


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