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Palmerton Zinc

Operable Unit 3, Community Soils

Operable Unit Description

Operable unit 3 consists of the valley wide residential soil and home dust lead contamination from the former smelting operations and the operation since 1980 of an electric arc furnace dust reprocessing facility at the East Plant. Impacted areas include the Borough of Palmerton, Town of Aquashicola and portions of Lower Towamensing Township.

Cleanup Progress

In February 1991, PADER sampled dust in several houses in Palmerton. The results of these samples indicated high levels of lead, cadmium and zinc. EPA conducted additional sampling at 24 homes in Palmerton. The sampling results from the additional 24 homes correlated with PADER results. EPA has since cleaned almost 200 homes and sampled an additional 100 homes as part of a removal action at the Site. In addition after significant community involvement, EPA issued the risk assessment relating to OU 3 in May 1998. The Risk Assessment stated that conditions that could result in unacceptable lead exposure are found in the Borough and surrounding communities. These conditions are reflected in homes and yards where the average of soil and dust concentrations of lead are 650 parts per million (ppm) or greater. EPA is currently working toward finalizing a Feasibility Study for OU 3 which will evaluate technologies to address the risks identified in the Risk Assessment. EPA plans to release a draft final Feasibility Study in the Spring of 1999 for public comment. Following community input, EPA will finalize the Feasibility Study and issue a proposed remedial action plan (Proposed Plan) which describes EPA's preferred alternative for addressing the risks identified in the risk assessment. The issuance of the Proposed Plan will initiate a 30 day public comment period which will include a public meeting at which EPA will present the preferred alternative to the public for comment. After the close of the public comment period and consideration of all the substantive comments received during the comment period, EPA will issue a Record of Decision which sets forth EPA's selected remedy for operable unit 3. The Record of Decision will include a Responsiveness Summary which addresses the substantive comments received during the public comment period. EPA currently plans a late summer Record of Decision for operable unit 3.

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