Fact Sheet June 1999
Groundwater System Construction Complete
In October 1998, contractors for Stanley Kessler Company, Inc. (Kessler) completed construction of a groundwater treatment system to address contaminated groundwater at the Site. Kessler, the site owner and potentially responsible party (PRP), hired Advanced GeoServices Corporation (AGC) to perform the construction work. Construction activities began in August 1998 and involved:
- Re-establishing and upgrading the existing on-site extraction well;
- Constructing a groundwater treatment plant; and
- Installing the water treatment components and process lines and connecting the system to the on-site extraction well.
AGC completed this work under oversight from EPA, USACE and the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (PaDEP). After completing construction activities, representatives from EPA, USACE and PaDEP conducted final inspections to ensure that all activities were completed in accordance with EPA's 1994 Record of Decision (ROD), Remedial Design Plan and Quality Assurance Plan. During this inspection, EPA identified a few minor items at the Site that needed to be addressed. These items included installing a sampling area on the treatment system, sealing pipe connections, drilling a hole in the well cap to measure water levels and installing rain gutters on the treatment building. Subsequent to this inspection, Kessler and AGC completed the work necessary to address these items.
How Did We Get To This Point?
In 1991, Kessler entered into a legal agreement with EPA to conduct environmental investigations into groundwater contamination at the Site. Between 1991 and 1994, Kessler sampled soil, sediments, surface water and groundwater at the Site to identify the type and extent of contamination and address ways to clean it up. This work is called a remedial investigation and feasibility study. Kessler also prepared a human and environmental assessment to identify the risks posed by contamination at the Site.
Based on these investigations, EPA proposed several cleanup alternatives and selected a final cleanup action in the September 1994 ROD. The selected cleanup action involved:
- Extracting contaminated groundwater from beneath the Site;
- Treating contaminated groundwater on-site using activated carbon units;
- Sampling groundwater and treated water to ensure cleanup levels are being achieved; and
- Placement of institutional controls to prevent installation of new wells and exposure to contaminated groundwater .
In September 1995, EPA issued a legal order to Kessler to design and implement the cleanup remedy identified in the ROD. In response to this order, Kessler hired Advanced GeoServices Corporation (AGC) in November 1995 to develop a work plan for designing the cleanup remedy.
Between 1996 and 1998, AGC conducted the field work necessary to develop designs for the cleanup action. EPA approved the design plans for the cleanup remedy in March 1998, and AGC began construction work on the groundwater treatment system in August 1998.
Cleanup Work Continues
Under oversight by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE), contractors are continuing cleanup work at the Stanley Kessler Co. Superfund Site located in King of Prussia, Upper Merion Township, Pennsylvania. EPA prepared this fact sheet to update community members on the progress of activities at the Site.
What Happens Next?
The completion of the groundwater treatment system marks the end of construction work at the Site and the beginning of final site remediation activities. In November 1998, EPA issued a Preliminary Close Out Report (PCOR) for the Stanley Kessler Site. The PCOR outlines the completed construction activities at the Site and lists the work remaining for final Site completion. Under EPA and PaDEP oversight, Kessler will operate the groundwater treatment system until the groundwater reaches the cleanup levels EPA identified in the ROD. In addition, Kessler will collect quarterly groundwater samples from monitoring wells over the next three years to ensure cleanup levels are being achieved.
Results from the groundwater sampling will be used to monitor cleanup progress and evaluate the effectiveness of the treatment system. In addition, EPA will require institutional controls to prohibit the installation of new wells in contaminated groundwater areas.
EPA and PaDEP will conduct periodic reviews of the Site and cleanup work to ensure that groundwater monitoring and the operation and maintenance of the groundwater treatment system meet EPA's requirements.
Once the groundwater at the Site meets the cleanup levels EPA identified in its 1994 ROD, EPA will remove the Stanley Kessler Site from the National Priorities List (NPL).
Stanley Kessler Site Background
The Stanley Kessler Superfund Site encompasses approximately three acres in an industrialized portion of King of Prussia, Pennsylvania. The Site is an active processing facility operated by Stanley Kessler Company, Inc. Since 1960, the company has operated as a degreasing and repackaging facility for welding wire. During former facility operations, workers handled various solvents containing volatile organic compounds (VOCs) such as trichloroethylene (TCE). Between 1963 and 1978, operational practices resulted in spillage of solvents into floor drains that fed into an underground acid neutralization system. This neutralization system consisted of two tanks, a concrete vessel containing limestone to neutralize the acid waste, and a cinder block holding vessel with no structural bottom.
In 1979, TCE was detected in the Upper Merion reservoir one-half mile north of the Stanley Kessler Site. This reservoir is used to provide drinking water to approximately 800,000 residents. As a result of this discovery, EPA and PaDEP sampled the surrounding areas and traced contaminants back to the Kessler facility and the neutralization system. In 1980 EPA, filed suit against Kessler to force the company to address groundwater contamination caused by conditions at the Site. In 1981, Kessler dug up the neutralization system, installed monitoring wells and disposed of contaminated soil off-site. In December 1982, EPA added the Stanley Kessler Site to the National Priorities List (NPL), a list of the most serious uncontrolled or abandoned hazardous waste sites. After signing an agreement with EPA, Kessler installed a small groundwater recovery and treatment system in 1984. Between 1985 and 1990, Kessler conducted limited groundwater monitoring. Despite the ongoing treatment operation, contaminant levels in the groundwater were still significantly higher than drinking water standards allowed. The groundwater treatment and soil flushing program continued until September 1990, when it was discontinued so that groundwater flow could be studied as part of the remedial investigation and feasibility study.
If you have any questions regarding cleanup work at the Stanley Kessler Site, you may contact one of the EPA officials listed below:
Hal Yates (3HS43)
EPA Community Involvement Coordinator
Ruth Scharr (3HS21)
EPA Remedial Project Manager
In July 1998, EPA moved the Region III offices to a new location. Although the (800) number is unchanged, EPA personnel have new phone numbers. EPA's new address is:
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
1650 Arch Street
Philadelphia, PA 19103-2029
EPA's local repository contains all Site-related documents and is available for public review during normal business hours at the location below.
Upper Merion Township Library
175 W. Valley Forge Road
King of Prussia, PA 19406
You can also get information about EPA, Superfund and other EPA programs on the World Wide Web at: www.epa.gov/region3/