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Drake Chemical

Fact Sheet: June 1997


On Sunday, February 9, 1997, EPA completed the trial burn (testing and optimization) phase for the Drake Chemical Superfund Site incinerator. The final series of tests included two risk burns and two trial burns using different operational conditions. The trial burns determine if the incinerator complies with all appropriate emissions regulations and establishes limits on incinerator operating conditions. The risk burns provide very detailed information regarding the chemical constituents in the incinerator emissions. The data collected during the risk and trial burns are used to produce a comprehensive risk assessment to determine if the incinerator operation poses a risk to public health or the environment.

Trial Burn 1 and Risk Burn 1 were conducted at conditions which would produce "worst- case" organics emissions. Trial Burn 2 was conducted at conditions which would produce "worst-case" metals emissions. If the incinerator passes these "worst-cases," the incinerator will be limited to operation within the conditions of these "worst-cases." Risk Burn 2 was conducted at conditions that were expected to meet ash backfill criteria at typical operating conditions. EPA will use information from all of these burns to prepare a Production Burn Risk Assessment Report prior to starting full incineration operations.

During the shutdown period, the incinerator will not treat any contaminated soil. During this time, site operations will include:

Following the completion of the full production burn risk assessment, EPA will report the findings to the public and conduct a public meeting to discuss the information. EPA anticipates starting the full- production burn in late summer 1997.


Results of the mini-burns conducted in October and November, 1996 demonstrated that the Drake Chemical Site emissions were much lower than the required emissions performance criteria. The following presents a summary of these mini-burn results:


To ensure that fugitive emissions are controlled during excavation of soils from the Drake Chemical Site, EPA and the Army Corps of Engineers installed four on-site perimeter monitoring stations. Additionally, off-site air monitoring stations also were installed to confirm that any emissions from the Drake incinerator are safe.

The perimeter air samples at the Drake Chemical Site consist of two types of monitoring; real-time monitoring and time-integrated monitoring. Off-site sampling utilizes time-integrated monitoring.

Perimeter real-time air monitoring is conducted for total volatile organics excluding methane. If the total organics are above a specified level, the system then measures toluene, tetrachloroethylene, and chlorobenzene. One sample is taken from each of the four stations every hour the incinerator is operating, or when handling site soils.

Perimeter time-integrated sampling is conducted for semi-volatile organics, particulates, and metals. Samples were collected every day during the first thirty days of excavation to confirm that the excavation and material handling techniques were controlling fugitive emissions. Confirmation that fugitive emissions are being controlled, allowed reducing the frequency of sample collection to semi- monthly, and then eventually, once per month.

Off-site time-integrated sampling is conducted for volatile organics, semi- volatile organics, particulates, metals, dioxins, and furans. Currently one 24-hour sample is collected every sixth day at each of the four stations.

Analyzed concentrations of volatile organics, semi-volatile organics, and metals have demonstrated compliance with the approved standards.


On Monday, January 27, 1997, Mr. Bill Smedley of the Arrest the Incinerator Remediation (AIR) group and Mr. Dean Bottorf, a Clinton County Commissioner, informed EPA that they had inside sources who reported workers drinking alcoholic beverages on the Drake Site. After EPA allowed an inspection of the dumpsters at the site, EPA, Mr. Smedley, and Mr. Bottorf, found a cardboard beer container in a dumpster next to the parking lot on the site, but outside of the fenced work area. A beer bottle was found in a dumpster inside the work area and about five beer cans were found in another dumpster.

Site operating and safety policies prohibit the consumption of alcoholic beverages on site. Site managers reviewed the policies and penalties, which can include dismissal, with all employees. EPA has been informed that some workers have sometimes deposited trash from outside the site in the on-site dumpsters. This also is prohibited by site policies and the policies have been discussed with site workers.


EPA Game Warning signs that showed up last fall along PA Route 120 were a hoax, and were removed by the State Forestry Bureau. EPA has concluded that no health effects will occur from eating game or any foods grown in the area.

Incinerator operations at the Drake Chemical Site do not pose a threat to human health or the environment. EPA has advised the State Forestry Bureau of its position in this matter. Because officials were not able to remove those signs on private property, EPA advised hunters to disregard the warning signs. For additional information, please contact Vance Evans, the U.S. EPA Community Involvement Coordinator, at 1-800-553-2509.

In December 1996, EPA representatives visited a 4th grade class in Lock Haven to talk with students about the incineration process at the Drake Chemical Site. If other teachers are interested in arranging a similar presentation, please contact one of the EPA representatives listed on page six.


EPA is in the process of creating a video tour of the Drake Chemical Superfund Site incinerator. This video will provide viewers with a first-hand walk-through of the incineration process. EPA hopes to complete the video by spring or summer of 1997. The video includes footage of the following incinerator components (in bold), and steps in the incineration process:

  1. The contaminated soil is fed into the rotary kiln, whichheats the soil to remove contaminants.
  2. After traveling through the kiln, the treated soil moves through a set of conveyors before being deposited into a holding area.
  3. Combustion gases released from heating the soil are separated from the soil at the end of the kiln in the breach.
  4. Next, gases are sent to the cyclone. The cyclone separates any remaining small pieces of soil from the gas stream before the gas enters the secondary combustion chamber.
  5. In the secondary combustion chamber, virtually all of the organics in the gas stream are destroyed in a second heating process.
  6. Under rare circumstances, after the gases pass through the secondary combustion chamber, they are released through the thermal relief vent (TRV). The TRV opens only in rare circumstances when necessary to prevent overheating of other areas of the incinerator. If the TRV opens, feed to the incinerator stops immediately.
  7. Following the secondary combustion chamber, the gases enter the evaporative cooler, where the combustion gases are cooled.
  8. In the baghouse, dust and ash particulates are filtered from the combustion gases, before being placed on a conveyor system and sent to storage.
  9. The combustion gases are drawn throughout the system by the induced draft fan, which creates a vacuum from the face of the kiln through the system to the fan.
  10. The induced draft fan sends the gases through the acid gas scrubber,which removes acid gases formed in the combustion process.
  11. Ultimately the gases are discharged through the stack.
  12. The inert solids from the kiln, cyclone, and secondary combustion chamber, are combined in the bottom ash system and wetted for cooling and dust control, prior to discharge into a bin for analysis.
  13. Solids from the evaporative cooler and baghouse are combined in the fly ash system, before the cooling and dust control process, prior to discharge into a storage bin for analysis.

The video tour of the Drake Chemical Incinerator will be available for review at the information repositories along with the Administrative Record File.


During September 1996, and January 1997, EPA conducted interviews with members of the community in order to gain a better understanding of community concerns and needs regarding the Drake Chemical Site. Community input allows EPA to respond to questions and concerns quickly and accurately, while also gaining information from the public which will be used to develop and implement the Drake Chemical Site Community Relations Plan (CRP). The CRP describes EPA's community relations goals and the activities EPA will conduct at the site in order to achieve them.

EPA is planning to conduct another round of interviews during the next few months with members of the community living near the site. If you would like to participate in this process, please contact Vance Evans (evans.vance@epa.gov) at U.S. EPA (3HW43), 1650 Arch St., Philadelphia, PA 19103-2029. You can also reach Mr. Evans by calling the Superfund Hotline: 1-800-553-2509.


Army Corps of Engineers' project engineer Dave Modricker guides the day-to- day operations at the Drake Chemical Site.

No stranger to Superfund projects, Modricker, who works for the Corps' Harrisburg Area Office in New Cumberland, Pennsylvania, joined the Drake project in June 1994, after spending two years as a project engineer at the Waldick Aerospace Superfund Site in Wall Township, New Jersey.

A Pennsylvania native, Modricker attended Pennsylvania State University in State College, Pennsylvania, where he earned a civil engineering degree.

Since his graduation in 1984, Modricker has served in several engineering positions with private engineering firms in State College, Pennsylvania, and the Nevada Department of Conservation and Natural Resources Division of Water Resources in Carson City, Nevada.

"As Drake Project Engineer, my goal is to remediate the site safely and be protective of the workers on the site, the community, and the environment," said Modricker.

Among his duties, Modricker is responsible for the administration of the $98 million dollar contract with OHM Inc. of Findley, Ohio, the environmental firm hired to design, build, and operate the Thermal Destruction Facility. Modricker also is responsible for the coordination of all project activities with the contractor and Federal, state, and local agencies.


If you have questions or comments about the Drake Chemical Site, please contact:

Vance Evans
Community Involvement Coordinator
U.S. EPA Region III (3HW43)
1650 Arch St.
Philadelphia, PA 19103-2029

Gregg Crystall
Drake Project Manager
U.S. EPA Region III (3HW22)
1650 Arch St.
Philadelphia, PA 19103-2029

Felicia Dailey
Community Involvement Coordinator
U.S. EPA Region III (3HW43)
1650 Arch St.
Philadelphia, PA 19103-2029

John Armstead
Regional Ombudsman
U.S. EPA Region III (3HW00)
1650 Arch St.
Philadelphia, PA 19103-2029

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