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Stanley Kessler

Fact Sheet - January 1995


The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has chosen a cleanup plan for the Stanley Kessler Superfund Site. This fact sheet outlines the plan and tells you what will happen next. It also recaps the site history. Page 3 of this fact sheet tells you how to find out more about the site.

The Cleanup Plan

On September 30, EPA released a Record of Decision. It announced EPA's final choice of a long-term plan to clean up site contamination. The contamination is not a danger to people who live or work near the site. However, EPA will clean it up in order to prevent future risks to public health or the environment. Under the cleanup plan, EPA will supervise the treatment of contaminated water that is below the earth's surface. This water (groundwater) contains solvents that were used in the past by workers at the Stanley Kessler Company. The treatment system will:

The used carbon will be shipped offsite and processed. EPA will monitor the groundwater cleanup process. EPA's goal is to improve the quality of affected water so that it complies with federal and state guidelines.

What Happens Next?

EPA will issue special notice letters to the parties who are potentially responsible for site contamination. These letters will invite the potentially responsible parties (PRPs) to design and carry out the site remedy announced in EPA's Record of Decision.

The letters will trigger a 120-day period during which the PRPs can negotiate with EPA. If the PRPs agree to do the work, they will enter into a Consent Decree. This document will list work plan due dates and other critical deadlines for the Remedial Design and Remedial Action.

Next, the PRPs will choose a site contractor and notify EPA of that contractor's experience and qualifications in order to get EPA approval. The chosen contractor will then submit a Remedial Design work plan. Once EPA has approved the chosen contractor's blueprint for cleanup, the contractor will build the water treatment system and begin the groundwater cleanup.

EPA will keep you informed about the site cleanup through future fact sheets, newspaper public notices, and public meetings.

Site Background

The Stanley Kessler Superfund Site covers about three acres in King of Prussia, Upper Merion Township, Montgomery County. The site property contains a one-story masonry building where wire is degreased and respooled. Materials are stored on a level, paved area south of the building. This paved area is enclosed by an eight-foot- high chain-link fence.

Since 1960, the Stanley Kessler Company has run a plant that respools welding wire on the site. From the 1960s to the early 1980s, plant workers handled volatile organic compounds (VOCs) including trichloroethylene (TCE) and 1,1,1 trichloroethane (TCA). VOCs, used as solvents and degreasers, are hazardous, carbon-based chemicals that can evaporate in the open air.

Listed below are key events in the site's history involving study and cleanup.

VOCs spill into floor drains that feed into an onsite septic tank/cesspool system. This spillage affects site soil and groundwater. The floor drains are closed in 1978.
April 1979
TCE is detected in the Upper Merion Reservoir. The reservoir, located one-half mile north of the site, is a major source of drinking water for the Philadelphia Suburban Water Supply.
September 1979
Following a directive from the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Resources (PADER), the Stanley Kessler Company performs sampling at the site. The sampling reveals soil and groundwater contamination.
Workers dig up the septic tank and cesspool system, as well as contaminated soil and sludge. The dug-up area is filled with gravel and covered with clean topsoil.
December 1982
EPA finalizes the site on the National Priorities List, its roster of hazardous waste sites tagged for potential cleanup under the Superfund program.
The Stanley Kessler Company receives a Court Order to treat contaminated groundwater. The company installs a system which pumps water, passes the water through an air stripper to remove contaminants, and discharges the treated water back onsite. The system runs until 1990.
January 1991
A Consent Order signed by EPA and the Stanley Kessler Company is filed. The company agrees to conduct a Remedial Investigation and Feasibility Study (RI/FS). The RI/FS provides a detailed picture of site contamination and reviews ways to clean it up.
June 1994
After accepting the final RI/FS reports, EPA issues a Proposed Plan. The Proposed Plan reviews five cleanup methods and highlights the one preferred by EPA. EPA holds a public comment period on the Proposed Plan and stages a public meeting at the Upper Merion Township Building.
September 1994
After a thorough review of community and state input on the Proposed Plan, EPA issues a Record of Decision announcing its final choice of a long-term site cleanup plan.

What is Superfund?

Superfund is the nation's program to clean up hazardous waste sites. The Superfund program was first passed by Congress in 1980. Superfund:

How to Get More Information

EPA has set up a file of reports on the site cleanup and the Superfund process. This file contains the RI/FS reports, the Proposed Plan, and the Record of Decision. You can review it at the public library listed below.

Upper Merion Township Library
175 West Valley Forge Road
King of Prussia, PA 19406

Superfund is designed to protect you and your environment. Public input about the site cleanup is important to EPA. If you have any questions or concerns about the site, the EPA staff listed below are ready to assist you.

Carolyn Szumal (3EA30)
Community Involvement Facilitator
U.S. EPA, Region III
1650 Arch Street
Philadelphia, PA 19103-2029

Ruth Scharr (3HW21)
Remedial Project Manager
U.S. EPA, Region III
1650 Arch Street
Philadelphia, PA 19103-2029

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