UNITED STATES ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY
REGION III- OFFICE OF COMMUNICATIONS AND GOVERNMENT RELATIONS
1650 Arch Street Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19103-2029
Phone - 215/814-5100 Fax - 215/814-5102
EPA Environmental News
July 19, 2004
Contact David Sternberg 215-814-5548
Cleaned Up Waste Site Turned Over to Nockamixon Township
Public can now enjoy this 113-acre property where birds and bunnies have returned
Nockamixon Township, Pa. Where sludge-filled lagoons once oozed contaminants into the nearest creek, now a grass-covered meadow hosts birds and wildlife. The lagoons were part of the Revere Chemical Superfund site that was abandoned in 1969, and has since been cleaned up and the property ownership transferred to Nockamixon Township.
Officials from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, township board members, and local politicians gathered today at the site to celebrate the deed's turnover to the township. The deed says that the 113-acre piece of land is to be preserved as open space. The township tentatively plans to add walking paths, benches and gazebos, once funding is set aside for them.
"The EPA's goal with Superfund sites is not only to remove the threat of chemicals to humans and the environment, but to turn these sites back into usable pieces of property whether it be for recreation or redevelopment," said Thomas C. Voltaggio, deputy regional administrator for the EPA. "The people of Nockamixon Township are getting back a beautiful piece of land that will be a legacy for their children and grandchildren."
From 1965 until 1969, the site was home to first Echo, Inc. and then the Revere Chemical Company which processed acid, metal and plating wastes. The liquid wastes were stored on the property in unlined, earthen lagoons. The U.S. District Court ordered the facility to close when it was discovered that the wastes were contaminating a nearby stream, a tributary to Rapp Creek.
The company abandoned the property, leaving behind the waste-filled lagoons and hundreds of drums full of chemicals. In 1970, the Pennsylvania Department of Health pumped out and treated three million gallons of waste. By then, the soil, the creek, the creek's sediments and the groundwater were already contaminated.
EPA analysis showed that soil, sediment, surface water and groundwater at and around the Revere site were contaminated with metals, including antimony, arsenic, beryllium, cadmium, chromium, copper, lead, mercury, nickel, vanadium, and zinc; trichloroethene and tetrachlorotheylene, both solvents; and trichlorobenzene.
The EPA declared the site a Superfund site in 1987, eligible for federal cleanup money. Under the Superfund program, the EPA will pay to clean up a contaminated site, get those held responsible to pay for it, or pay for it and eventually be reimbursed for their expenditure.
At the Revere site, a group of potentially responsible parties known as the Revere Steering Committee financed the cleanup and cooperatively addressed the environmental conditions at the Site with EPA and Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (PADEP), since the operator of the facility, Revere Chemical, declared bankruptcy and could not be held responsible for the cleanup. The Revere Steering Committee spent $12 million to cleanup the site with an additional $2 million set aside for maintenance.
The committee is comprised of AT&T (currently Lucent Technologies); AT&T Global Information Solutions (currently NCR Corp.);Carpenter Technology Corporation; General Electric Company; GTE Operations Support (as successor to GTE Products Corp.); International Business Machines Corporation; Square D (on behalf of Yates Industries); and Unisys Corporation.
The cleanup consisted of off-site disposal of solid waste and debris; treatment of contaminated soil; source containment; capping; fencing to limit access to capped areas; revegetation; deed restrictions; long-term groundwater monitoring; short-term stream monitoring. The cleanup of the site was a cooperative effort between the EPA and the Revere Steering Committee directed at restoring the land for beneficial use.
In October 2002, the Revere Steering Committee donated $95,211 to the Nockamixon Ordinary Trust which allowed it to purchase the property from a "third party" that acquired the property through a tax sale. The deed transferring ownership of the property from the Trust to Nockamixon Township was recorded in January 2004. In return for the Revere Steering Committee donating the money to fund the purchase, Nockamixon Township has agreed to perform on behalf of the Revere Steering Committee a significant portion of the operation and maintenance obligations required by the USEPA. This continues to show the cooperative nature of the project.