EPA Issues an ESD
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announces its third Explanation of Significant Differences (ESD) to explain new information discovered during cleanup work at the Tonolli Corporation Site. An ESD explains actions that require changes to the remedy selected in the Record of Decision (ROD).
These changes are considered significant, but not fundamental changes to the remedy for the site. Six changes are planned:
- Demolishing and removing the concrete foundation walls:
- necessary to complete decontamination of the site.
- Excavating an increased volume of contaminated soil:
- soils adjacent or beneath areas on the site were found to be contaminated with lead in excess of ROD standards.
- Expanding the onsite landfill to accommodate the increased volume of soil:
- to accommodate the soils generated as a result of change two above.
- Pumping and treating an increased volume of landfill leachate:
- more leachate was found than expected.
- Bioremediating petroleum-contaminated soil:
- extensive area of petroleum-contaminated soil was found during cleanup work.
- Modifying the final grading plan for the site:
- due to the increased size and depth of excavations, regrading to the original topography is not feasible.
Removal Action Complete
All reclaimable materials with high lead content have now been removed offsite for recycling. This included battery casings, batteries and metallic lead sheets. Nickel/iron batteries were taken offsite for recycling at the Inmetco facility in Ellwood City, Pennsylvania.
EPA incorrectly stated in the September 1998 Update that nickel/cadmium batteries were taken to Exide Corporation for disposal. Asbestos materials, electrical transformers and drums of oil and other materials have all been taken offsite for disposal.
Remedial Action Continues
Pumping and treating landfill leachate
A temporary cover has been placed over the onsite landfill to minimize the infiltration of rainwater and snow melt over the winter months (see pictures on page 2). Two temporary and two permanent wells in the landfill continue to remove water below the surface of the landfill. This leachate water is treated in a system designed to remove lead and other metals. Clean water is discharged to the Nesquehoning Creek.
A new smaller treatment system, that can be run in freezing temperatures, is now working at the site. To date, over 4.6 million gallons of landfill leachate has been treated. Despite a problem in late December, which has been corrected, the lead and other metals in the discharged water have been below the monthly average criteria established by the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (PADEP).
Stabilizing and expanding the side slopes of the landfill and placing soil, sediment and debris in the onsite landfill
Soil placement in the landfill was discontinued in late November 1998 and a temporary cover was placed over the landfill in December. The onsite landfill is essentially filled to capacity and a new cell must be added to expand the landfill. With input from EPA and PADEP, the contractor is working on plans to expand the landfill to the west to create a new cell to contain the remaining contaminated soil and debris.
Plans for the new cell of the landfill are scheduled to be submitted in mid-March. The design will include a liner and leachate collection system. This cell will be constructed next to the western embankment of the landfill (see below). It can be expanded up the slope of the western side of the landfill as needed to allow for the estimated volume of soil/waste remaining at the site. The northern, eastern and southern landfill side slopes are largely completed.
Constructing a groundwater treatment trench along the southern site boundary
As reported in the September 1998 Information Update, construction of the groundwater trench was completed on July 16, 1998.
Decontaminating and demolishing buildings/tanks
All buildings and tanks scheduled for demolition have been decontaminated and torn down. The former solder building concrete foundation will be removed in the spring of 1999. Removal of all concrete was not included in the original plans, but became necessary in order to access all contaminated soils. Some of the concrete was contaminated with batteries and large pieces of lead were found under the concrete in some areas.
Excavating onsite and offsite lead contaminated soil
Soil excavation was suspended for the winter and is set to start-up in April 1999. In 1998, over 79,000 cubic yards of lead contaminated soil was excavated from around the site. The contractor estimates that up to 36,000 cubic yards of soil will need to be excavated to complete the project. This is comparable to the original cleanup estimate of 39,000 cubic yards.
Sampling has been completed at offsite properties to the west of the site, as well as under asphalt areas and under the floor and around the office building completed. In late March 1999, the contractor will submit a report to EPA with the analytical results of this sampling. EPA will then determine the appropriate action to be taken on these areas.
EPA has approved certain excavation areas at the Site to be clean. Some areas including the former garage, the southern and western site property boundary areas and portions of the residential property west of the Site have been backfilled and graded.
Treating excavated soil using stabilization
During 1998, a total of over 32,000 cubic yards of soil, with greater than 10,000 mg/kg of lead, was excavated, treated and taken to the onsite landfill. The original estimate of the volume of this heavily contaminated soil that would require treatment was 7,300 cubic yards. The contractor estimates that up to 3,500 cubic yards of soil remains to be excavated and treated in 1999.
Removing lead contaminated sediments from Nesquehoning Creek
This activity is currently scheduled to occur following all other site excavations.
Constructing a multi-layered cap and closing the onsite landfill
Despite the re-design of the landfill, completed in August 1998, the volume of soil excavated from the site has filled the existing landfill to capacity. A single cap will be constructed over the old landfill and new cell following placement of all soil and debris in the landfill.
Backfilling, restoring and revegetating the site
These items are scheduled to start at the end of the project. Final seeding and establishment of vegetation will likely have to be done in the summer/fall of 1999.
Cleanup Team Working Together
EPA, PADEP and the Tonolli Site Steering Committee (TSSC) are working to finalize plans to complete the cleanup of the former lead acid battery recycling and secondary lead smelting facility this year.
The TSSC is composed of a group of companies that are potentially responsible parties (PRPs) at the site. EPA, PADEP and 53 companies signed a Consent Decree, which was entered into Federal Court. Under this legal agreement, the TSSC has agreed to complete the cleanup of the site.
The TSSC has retained Advanced GeoServices Corporation (AGC) to complete an investigation of the lead contamination on the properties to the west of the Site and design a new cell to enlarge the onsite landfill. AGC will also continue in their role as the resident engineer on the project to oversee the construction. MACTEC, the construction contractor, and AGC are working under oversight by the EPA, PADEP and EPA's contractor, the US Army Corps of Engineers.
Tonolli Site Background
From 1972 until 1986, Tonolli Corporation operated a lead acid battery recycling and secondary lead reclamation facility on the property. In 1989, a group of PRPs initiated a remedial investigation and feasibility study to assess the contamination and evaluate cleanup options. Also in 1989, EPA implemented a removal action at the site to address a waste water lagoon and a 500,000 gallon storage tank. EPA constructed a wastewater treatment plant to treat water in the lagoon and tank. Filter materials in this system were replaced at the start of the remedial action and the system is currently treating storm water from the site.
EPA issued a ROD that selected a remedy for the site in 1993. In 1994 and 1995, EPA worked to resolve issues which arose during the public comment period for a Consent Decree with the PRPs. In 1996, a contractor for the TSSC began work on the remedial design for the cleanup and plans for the removal of battery casings from the site. EPA approved the final remedial design on February 20, 1998, and cleanup work started in April 1998.
Additional Site Information
For further information about the SMWT Site, please contact:
Community Involvement Coordinator
1650 Arch Street
Philadelphia, PA 19103
Remedial Project Manager
1650 Arch Street
Philadelphia, PA 19103
To review site documents
The ESD, the ROD, and all other site-related documents can be reviewed at the local information repository during normal business hours.
Nesquehoning Borough Building
114 West Catawissa Street
Nesquehoning, PA 18240