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Drake Chemical

Fact Sheet: August 1998, Issue #12

Drake Cleanup Reaches 30 Percent Completion Mark

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The Drake Cleanup Team is working hard to clean up the site, and recently reached the 30% complete mark. Equipment working near the base of the clean soil is reshaping a terrace so dumptrucks can unload cleaned soil easier. Excavators move boulders that have been removed from the contaminated zone.

Production at the Drake Cleanup project proceeded very well throughout June and July crews successfully treated, tested and backfilled more than 79,448 tons of soil at the site by mid-July. This milestone means that 30% of the site soils have been successfully treated and are being readied for the day that the land will be returned to the community for productive use.

The major maintenance activity during the month was a three-day shut down for routine repair and replacement of worn parts. One of the highest wear items within the facility is the set of two feed screws, which load 1,000 tons of contaminated soil into the kiln each day. Feed-screw wear is expected, and their regular replacement is planned. During the June maintenance break, the Drake Cleanup Team installed a new set of feed screws. Along with the screws, the Team replaced the cooling water jacket, which houses the screws, with a newer jacket design to extend the life expectancy of the screws.

Work continued in handling the contents of excavated drums for appropriate disposal as described in last month's Update. Only a handful of new drums were uncovered during the latest month, but whether it is just one drum or many, the Team follows the same procedure to isolate, test and evaluate the contents before the material is shipped offsite.

The Team excavated a large amount of construction debris during June and early July. A rumor that debris from homes destroyed by Tropical Storm Agnes in 1972 was dumped into Drake's open lagoons is proving true. Old housing debris was a convenient fill material when the unlined lagoons were filled in the mid-1970s, but is now a nuisance. This rock, wood, brick, metal and other debris are separated from the soil, then disposed offsite. The soil is cleaned and backfilled.

In response to the summer heat, the Team made a number of changes to benefit worker safety and community concerns. The Team modified its monitoring methods to avoid heat stress illnesses among workers. Workers in hazardous zones wear an impermeable coverall, made of Tyvek, to prevent any contact with contaminated soil. This suit, however, interferes with the body's normal perspiration and cooling cycle, which raises the threat of heat related problems. Additional training and monitoring have been put in place to help compensate for this.

Summer weather conditions have also prompted changes for the community's benefit. The Team has increased its use of erosion-control and odor-suppressing materials as warm weather increases the possibility of unpleasant odors. An odor control foam, Rusmar, is sprayed on the fresh excavation after each day's excavation work. Crews regularly coat the sides of the stockpile with ConCover , an erosion retardant, which impedes the wind blowing dust off the stockpile and rain washing it into the rainwater collection ponds.

Administrative Record File

The Administrative Record (AR) File is the most effective resource community members can use to stay involved in progress at the site. Many different steps and activities occur at National Priority List (NPL) site cleanups and keeping track of all the information is a difficult task. Information about past owners of the site, legal actions pertaining to the site or detailed studies used to make cleanup decisions can be confusing.

Federal law requires the creation of an AR for all sites on the NPL. The AR is a condensed file of the most relevant documents used to make important decisions at the site. EPA uses the AR to provide the public with easily accessible site information and to defend decisions in court.

How easy is it to use?

Since the AR is designed to encourage community involvement with site activities, it is easy to use and readily accessible. There are currently four Information Repositories that hold copies of the Drake Site AR: the Drake Community Outreach Center, Ross Public Library, Stevenson Library and EPA's Region 3 Headquarters in Philadelphia (see the end of this article for more information on the locations). Information is broken down into distinct sections, organized as follows:

A convenient index accompanies every copy of the AR and each page in the file is numbered for easy reference. If you have any questions about how to access the AR, please call George Drumbor at the Drake Community Outreach Center: (717) 748-0872.

The ARs are located at:

Drake Community Outreach Center
84 Myrtle St.
Lock Haven, PA 17745
Phone: (717) 748-0872
Contact: George Drumbor
Hours of Operation: See box to the right

Stevenson Library
Lock Haven University
Lock Haven, PA 17745
Phone: (717) 893-2310
Contact: Robert Bravard
Hours of Operation:
Monday - Thursday, 7:30 a.m. - 8 p.m.
Friday, 7:30 a.m. - 4 p.m
Saturday, 10 a.m. - 2 p.m.

Ross Public Library
232 W. Main St.
Lock Haven, PA 17745
Phone: (717) 748-3321
Contact: Andrea Glossner
Hours of Operation:
Monday, 9 a.m. - 8 p.m.
Tuesday & Wednesday, 9 a.m. - 5 p.m.
Thursday, 9 a.m. - 8 p.m.
Friday & Saturday, 9 a.m. - 5 p.m.

EPA Region 3 Headquarters
Administrative Records Room
1650 Arch Street
Philadelphia, PA 19103
Phone: (215) 814-3157
Contact: Anna Butch
Hours of Operation:
Monday - Friday, 8:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.
Please call in advance for an appointment.

We're Here To Talk To You!

If you are interested in having someone from the Drake Cleanup Team talk to your group, please contact George Drumbor at the Drake Community Outreach Center, at 748-0872.

EPA Launches Web Site to Document Drake Cleanup Activity

In mid-June, EPA Region 3 launched a new Internet web site to give the public as much information about the Drake Chemical project as possible at one on-line location. The new web resource, known as the Drake Chemical Information Center, can be found at the URL: http://www.epa.gov/reg3hwmd/super/PA/drake/index.htm.

The new site provides a downloadable version of this Drake Update as well as a library of past issues. The site also features the latest press release from the Drake Cleanup Team, and has a library of old news releases. Daily and weekly Situation Reports the documents that the Army Corps of Engineers use to keep EPA advised of current ongoing activity are posted at the website.

Information on the AR (see article in this issue on Administrative Record File), including a copy of its index, is available on the site. The site also contains photos of the Drake project and general background information. Links connect to the Drake SODAR/meteorology website, the EPA Kids' Page, the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) web site and various EPA environmental awareness programs.

Environmental Advisory Committee Takes Site Tour

Members of the City of Lock Haven Environmental Advisory Committee toured the Drake Site following their July meeting. This committee, made up of local residents interested in environmental issues, meets regularly to review environmental matters that could affect the Lock Haven community and advises local officials. Committee members and their hosts are member Mary Ann Bower, Army Corps of Engineers tour guide Chad Thompson, member Ralph Harnishfeger, EPA project manager Gregg Crystall, member George Gedon, and OHM project manager Rick Santucci.

Onsite Training

Decontamination means that when workers prepare to leave a hazard zone, everything that touched hazardous material must stay within the zone. New Drake Cleanup Team employees practice decontamination procedures as part of the 40-hour hazardous waste operations training course that all workers at the site must pass.

EPA Contacts

U.S. EPA Region 3
1650 Arch Street
Philadelphia, PA 19103

Gregg Crystall (3HS22)
Drake Team Leader

David Polish (3HS43)
Community Involvement Coordinator

184 Myrtle Street
Onsite Outreach Coordinator: George Drumbor

Public Hours (Drop-Ins Invited)
Monday: 10:00 - 12:00 and 3:00 - 5:00
Tuesday: 1:00 - 5:00
Wednesday: 1:00 - 3:00 and 5:00 - 7:00
Thursday: 1:00 - 5:00
Friday: 10:00 - 12:00 and 3:00 - 5:00
Saturdays, 1st & 3rd of each month: 10:00 - 2:00
Additional hours by appointment

Community Information HOTLINE: 748-5602

EPA Offers Environmental Awareness Tools for Individuals and Schools

With a Superfund cleanup project in the middle of the community, it is easy for local residents to think only of the Drake site whenever the subject of the environment arises. But environmental awareness covers a range of topics on how to fit our lifestyles with the preservation of clean air and water and with the maintenance of a diverse and healthy ecosystem.

Located at EPA's Region 3 headquarters in Philadelphia, the Public Environmental Education Center (PEEC) is a place where the public can find information about all kinds of environmental issues. The PEEC offers a range of environmental exhibits, publications and other media. An extensive video library covers topics as diverse as recycling, air quality, water quality, biodiversity, wetlands, Superfund and so on. Each topic has several videos designed for different age groups.

The PEEC is especially effective as an out-of-classroom resource for people various ages and levels of environmental education. Elementary and high school teachers can obtain an environmental curriculum from the PEEC, and organizations can be placed on PEEC's mailing list. Tailored presentations featuring EPA scientists, attorneys or engineers can be arranged so that the public can learn directly from experts in their fields. Classes from elementary school through college are welcome to visit for presentations and video screenings in the new 40-seat theater, as well as to use various multimedia resources including interactive touchscreen computer databases, the internet and visual displays. Access is also available to EPA's library of related federal laws.

Interested individuals can contact the PEEC directly to arrange a visit or learn more about the resources offered. For more information, contact Betty Ringkamp at:

Public Environmental Education Center (PEEC)
1650 Arch Street
Philadelphia, PA 19103

OSHA Takes a Close Look at Drake

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) recently completed a four-day inspection of the Drake Chemical Superfund Site. The OHSA team scoured the site looking for anything that could affect the health and safety of workers at the Drake Site. The OSHA team did not find any major problems at the site, but did find some minor electrical wiring problems, which were corrected immediately upon discovery. OSHA's inspection validates one of the main goals of the Drake Team: the operation of a worksite that is protective of both health and safety. OSHA's report will be available in approximately six weeks.

Region 3 | Mid-Atlantic Cleanup | Mid-Atlantic Superfund |EPA Home | EPA Superfund Homepage

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