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Old Wilmington Road Groundwater Contamination

Information Update, July 2000

We Want To Hear From You

The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is developing a community relations plan for the Old Wilmington Road Ground Water Contamination Superfund Site (Old Wilmington Road GW Site). The plan will be based upon existing data and historical records, as well as comments and suggestions EPA receives from community members. To participate, or to be added to the mailing list for the Old Wilmington Road GW Site, please call the EPA’s 24-hour toll free number, and speak to Carrie Deitzel, or leave your name, site name, address, and phone number.

Contact Us 1-800-553-2509

Remedial Investigation & Feasibilit Feasibility Study (RI/FS)

EPA is investigating the Old Wilmington Road GW Site in West Caln Township, Chester County, Pennsylvani (See map below). The investigation is composed of two studies. The first study, called a Remedial Investigation, identifies the types and amounts of site related contamination and determines the threats this contamination poses to human health and the environment. The second study, called a Feasibility Study, evaluates possible cleanup methods that can be used to remove, reduce, or stabilize contamination at the site.


During the RI/FS, EPA will sample the ground water, soil, and residential wells in the vicinity of the contaminated ground water plume. Residents can expect to see field workers in protective gear and may also see pickup trucks and vans transporting sampling equipment. The use of protective gear while taking samples should not be cause for alarm. Field workers are required to wear protection, because it is EPA policy. EPA will also want to sample residential properties and will obtain permission from property owners before doing so. Fieldwork will begin this month. The duration of fieldwork will be dependent on the data collected. The RI/FS will then continue in the office and laboratory as samples and data are analyzed, historical information is reviewed, and cleanup methods are evaluated.

Click to enlarge the site map
Site Map - Click to enlarge

History of Superfund

Superfund cleanups are very complex. They require the efforts of many experts in science, engineering, public health, management, law, community relations, and numerous other fields. Congress established the Superfund Program in 1980 to clean up the Nation's most serious uncontrolled hazardous waste sites. The EPA, in cooperation with individual states and tribal governments, manages the Superfund Program. Superfund locates, investigates, stabilizes, and cleans up hazardous waste sites. The program also responds to hazardous waste emergencies and imminent threats.


Laboratory results from samples taken during the initial Site Inspection (SI) in 1988 showed that residential wells located on the landfill site and other wells in the area were contaminated with high levels of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and manganese, a heavy metal. High concentrations of the VOC, trichloroethene (TCE), were found in the well system that provided water to 60 residents of a nearby mobile home park.

Soil samples collected from the landfill during the 1988 SI contained several semi-volatile organic compounds, specifically polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), pesticides, and polynuclear aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs).

Site History

The Old Wilmington Road GW Site was placed on the National Priorities List (NPL) on February 4, 2000. The site consists of an area in the vicinity of a ground water plume contaminated with volatile organic compounds (VOCs). The site is located in West Caln Township near the intersection of Old Wilmington Road and Ash Road. (See map) The plume was discovered in 1988 during a Site Inspection at the Perry Phillips Landfill. Ground water samples from 11 residential wells were also taken during this inspection. The well system that provided water to 60 residents of a mobile home park was contaminated with trichloroethene (TCE) at concentrations above EPA’s removal action level. Under the Safe Drinking Water Act, EPA required Perry Phillips owner of the mobile home park, to install a carbon filtration unit in the contaminated well system. In 1993, after additional sampling was completed, emergency funding was made available to provide carbon filtration units for six affected residences. EPA will continue to maintain the carbon filtration units and monitor the contaminated wells and several other wells in the area.

The source of the contamination has not yet been determined. Three potential source areas have been identified based upon the pattern of observed ground water contamination from samples taken in March 1994, 1995, and 1996 and the Site Investigation performed by the EPA in 1988. These three areas include:

Area 1
Perry Phillips Junkyard (and adjacent Leon Butler property)
Area 2
Perry Phillips Landfill
Area 3
Roger Phillips property

Areas 1 and 2 have been listed as potential sources due to years of unregulated dumping of residential, commercial, and industrial wastes. The volumes of wastes present in the landfill are unknown. During the Site Investigation conducted in 1988, the junkyard was found to contain demolition waste, piles of batteries, and sewage sludge. Joseph Phillips, who owned and operated a waste transportation company, is the former owner of the Leon Butler property. It is alleged that Joseph Phillips disposed of trash, debris, and 55-gallon drums filled with chemicals in trenches on the property. Area 3 was identified as a possible source only because of ground water contamination patterns. No investigation of this property has been done to date.

Under Superfund law, those who generate, dispose, or transport hazardous wastes or own or operate hazardous waste sites are considered Potentially Responsible Parties (PRPs). Superfund expects PRPs to conduct or pay for the site cleanup. Records about the site history and uses are currently being investigated to identify the PRPs for this site. If no viable PRPs are identified, cleanup can be conducted with money from the Superfund Trust Fund.

For Further Information

If you have any questions or comments about the Old Wilmington Road GW Site, please contact the EPA representatives listed below:

Carrie Deitzel
Community Involvement Coordinator
1650 Arch Street - 3HS43
Philadelphia, PA 19103

Jerry Hoover
Remedial Project Manager
1650 Arch Street – 3HS21
Philadelphia, PA 19103

The Administrative Record, which details EPA's involvement with this site, can be viewed at the following locations:

Administrative Records Room
1650 Arch Street
Philadelphia, PA 19103
Call 215-814-3157 for an appointment.

West Caln Township Building
721 West Kings Highway
P.O. Box 175
Wagontown, PA 19376

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
Carrie Deitzel (3HS43)
Community Involvement Coordinator
1650 Arch Street
Philadelphia, PA 19103

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