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Moyers Landfill

Fact Sheet - February 1998

EPA and Municipalities Sign Landmark Consent Decree

A group of municipalities will build a leachate* treatment plant at the Moyers Landfill Superfund Site in Lower Providence Township, Montgomery County, as a result of a landmark Consent Decree reached with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The 22 municipalities participating in the settlement had disposed of their residential trash and similar municipal solid waste at the landfill, which is approximately two miles west of Eagleville. This Consent Decree is the first in the nation under which local governments that sent their municipal solid waste to a Superfund site have reached an agreement with EPA to participate directly in the cleanup of a site.

This Consent Decree grew out of EPA's lawsuit against 17 potentially responsible parties (PRPs), including 12 businesses that sent their industrial wastes to the site, and five present and former owners and operators of the site. In accordance with long-standing policy, EPA did not name as PRPs, or sue, municipalities that sent only residential trash, similar municipal solid waste or sewage sludge to the site, even though such wastes may have contained small amounts of hazardous chemicals. However, Superfund permits PRPs that EPA sues to join in litigation to sue anyone who sent wastes containing hazardous substances to a site, regardless of the amount of waste. In this case, the 12 industrial PRPs sued more than 150 additional users of the landfill, including the municipalities who are participating in this Consent Decree. Because the municipal PRPs have agreed to build the leachate treatment plant, they will be dismissed from the industrial PRPs' lawsuit against them.

The Leachate Treatment Plant

Under the terms of the Consent Decree, the municipal PRPs will build a leachate treatment plant in accordance with the cleanup plan outlined in the 1985 Record of Decision (ROD; see page two for more information on the ROD). EPA has already installed a leachate collection trench and cap at the former landfill, consistent with the ROD. The treatment plant will reduce contamination levels in water leaching from the landfill through a combined treatment process. The first stage of the treatment process will use bacteria that digest the organic contaminants in the leachate. Because most, if not all, of the contaminants in the leachate are organic, this stage will remove most of the contamination. If necessary, the plant will use additional processes to remove remaining contaminants from the water. The water will be discharged to Skippack Creek and the contaminants will be disposed of offsite.

Site History

Former Site Operations 

From the 1940s through April 1981 the site operated as a solid waste landfill. During those years, the landfill accepted municipal waste, sewage sludge, industrial wastewater treatment sludges, and general industrial wastes. The landfill was authorized to accept these types of wastes through a permit issued by the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (PaDEP). In addition, the landfill accepted solid and liquid hazardous wastes that included paints, solvents, and polychlorinated biphenyls.

From the 1940s until the mid 1970s the site covered 39 acres. In the mid 1970s the owner expanded the landfill to include an additional five acres. PaDEP required the landfill owners to install a leachate collection system and the owners agreed to truck the leachate offsite for treatment. PaDEP inspected the landfill several times and found leachate seeps at different locations on the northwest side of the site and contaminated springs, which indicated that the leachate collection system was not operating properly. Several times in the late 1970s and early 1980s PaDEP ordered the landfill owners to comply with state and federal environmental laws, primarily by upgrading the leachate collection system to prevent leachate from escaping and contaminating the groundwater. In an attempt to force the owners to comply with these laws, PaDEP fined the operators and suspended the landfill's operating permit. Because the landfill never complied with PaDEP's orders, PaDEP ordered the landfill closed in April 1981.

EPA Involvement 

EPA proposed the Moyers Site for placement on the National Priorities List (NPL) in December 1982. The NPL is EPA's list of the nation's most serious uncontrolled or abandoned hazardous waste sites identified for possible long-term cleanup using Superfund money. EPA formally placed the Moyers Site on the NPL on September 8, 1983.

In February 1984 EPA began remedial investigation and feasibility study (RI/FS) activities to determine the types and amounts of contamination present at the site and to evaluate possible cleanup options. EPA completed the RI/FS in early 1985 and signed the ROD for the site in September of that year. The ROD outlined EPA's chosen plan to clean up the Moyers Site. The main components of EPA's chosen cleanup plan were:

The original cap design, which was completed in 1989, called for 90,000 truckloads of soil to be brought in to construct the cap. Because the community was concerned about traffic from the trucks that would transport the soil, EPA redesigned the cap to require less soil for construction (22,500 truckloads) and decrease the possibility of erosion of the soil into Skippack Creek.

Current Site Activities

EPA divided the construction phase of the site cleanup into two phases. Phase One involved constructing a leachate collection system, which EPA completed in March 1993. Phase Two involved constructing a cap over a portion of the former landfill, which EPA completed in 1995. The leachate treatment plant is part of Phase Two. The design phase of the treatment plant already has begun and EPA recently received the workplan for the design from the municipalities.

Glossary

Consent Decree
A legal document, approved by a judge, that formalizes an agreement between EPA and PRPs through which the PRPs will conduct all or part of a cleanup action at a Superfund site; stop or correct actions that are polluting the environment; or comply with EPA-initiated actions to resolve the contamination at a Superfund site.
Leachate
A contaminated liquid that results when water trickles through waste materials (such as in a landfill) and collects contaminants. Leachate may cause hazardous substances to enter soil, surface water or groundwater.
Organic
Substances containing mainly carbon, hydrogen, nitrogen and oxygen.
Polychlorinated Biphenyls (PCBs)
PCBs are a family of man-made chemicals that contain 209 individual compounds with varying toxicities. PCBs have been used widely as coolants and lubricants in transformers and other electrical equipment.
Potentially Responsible Parties (PRPs)
Companies or people responsible for the contamination at a site. Whenever possible, through administrative and legal actions, EPA requires the PRPs to clean up hazardous waste sites they have contaminated.
Solvent
Liquid capable of dissolving or dispersing one or more substances.

For More Information, Please Contact One of These EPA Representatives:

Community Involvement Coordinator 
Harold Yates 
U.S. EPA, Region III 
1650 Arch St.
Philadelphia, PA 19103-2029
800-553-2509 or (215)
215- 814-5530 
yates.hal@epa.gov 

Remedial Project Manager 
Fred MacMillan 
U.S. EPA, Region III 
1650 Arch St.
Philadelphia, PA 19103-2029 
215-814-3201 
macmillan.fred@epa.gov  

Information Repositories 

You can find more information about the Moyers Site in the Administrative Record File. The Administrative Record File is EPA's officials collection of reports, letters and other documents that show EPA's process of selecting a cleanup plan for the site. You can find the File at the Information Repositories listed below.

Lower Providence Township 
Municipal Building 
100 Parklane Drive 
Eagleville, PA 19403  

Hours: Monday - Friday, 8:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m. 

Contact: William McCauley 
Phone: 610-539-8020 

U.S. EPA, Region III 
Administrative Records Room 
1650 Arch St.
Philadelphia, PA 19103-2029  

Hours: Monday - Friday, 8:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m. 

Contact: Anna Butch, butch.anna@epa.gov
Phone: 215-814-3157 

Please call in advance for an appointment.

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