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Bruin Lagoon



U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Region III September 18, 1997 

Table of Contents

National Priorities List Deletion

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) plans to remove the Bruin Lagoon and the Hranica Landfill Superfund Sites from the National Priorities List (NPL). The NPL is EPA's list of the nation's most serious or uncontrolled hazardous waste sites eligible for cleanup actions with either cooperation from potentially responsible parties (PRPs) or money from the Superfund. Once cleanup actions have been completed and EPA has determined that the site is no longer a threat to public health, welfare, and the environment, EPA can remove the site from the NPL. 

EPA and the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (PADEP) decided to delete the two sites from the NPL based on the following factors: 

When planning to close out a site, EPA must ensure that all waste is disposed properly, all equipment is decontaminated and stabilized, any residents who were relocated temporarily are returned to their homes, and the cleanup actions have restored the site. If EPA used containment cleanup measures that allow the hazardous substances to remain onsite, as with the Bruin Lagoon and Hranica Landfill Sites, EPA must conduct a review of the site after five years (five-year review) to ensure that the containment measures are working before the site can be considered for deletion. After certifying that the cleanup is complete, EPA publishes a notice of intent to delete the site from the NPL in the Federal Register. EPA published a notice of intent for the Bruin Lagoon Site on July 17, 1997, and a notice of intent for the Hranica Landfill Site on June 19, 1997. After deletion, EPA will continue to review the site every five years for up to 30 years.

EPA and PADEP determined that cleanup actions conducted at the Bruin Lagoon and the Hranica Landfill Superfund Sites remain protective of public health, welfare, and the environment. Thus, the cleanup of these sites has met the goals of the National Oil and Hazardous Substances Pollution Contingency Plan (NCP). The NCP, revised in 1986, contains the regulations that govern how EPA lists and removes sites from the NPL. 

All sites deleted from the NPL are eligible for further Superfund-financed cleanup actions if they become necessary in the future. If there is ever a significant environmental problem at a site deleted from the NPL, EPA can place the site back on the NPL without reevaluating it with the Hazard Ranking System (HRS). 

Bruin Lagoon Site History

The Bruin Lagoon Site covers approximately six acres in Bruin Borough, Butler County, Pennsylvania, approximately 45 miles north of Pittsburgh. The site began operating during the 1930s as a disposal site for petroleum refining wastes. Until the 1970s, Bruin Lagoon was used for the disposal of wastes from mineral oil production, motor oil reclamation, crude storage tanks, and spent bauxite from mineral oil infiltration. The primary contaminants at the site were sulfuric acid, hydrogen sulfide, sulfur dioxide, and heavy metals. 

In 1968, the lagoon overflowed, spilling approximately 3,000 gallons of acidic sludge into Bear Creek which borders the east side of the site. The spill killed more than three million fish in Bear Creek and the Allegheny and Ohio Rivers. 

The timeline below illustrates EPA's actions to cleanup the Bruin Lagoon Site. 

October 1981
EPA proposed the site for placement on the NPL. Using the HRS, EPA calculated a score of 72 for the site.
September 1983
EPA formally placed the site on the NPL.
June 1981
EPA began remedial investigation and feasibility study (RI/FS) activities that included installing monitoring wells and collecting samples from surface water, lagoon sludge, and liquids in onsite tanks.
June 1982
EPA issued the Record of Decision (ROD) detailing the selected plan to address the site contamination. The cleanup plan included capping the lagoon and stabilizing the dikes.
April 1984
While conducting cleanup activities, workers broke through a previously unidentified crust which released toxic gases including carbon dioxide, hydrogen sulfide, and sulfuric acid mist. EPA suspended the cleanup activities and began an emergency removal action to prevent further gas releases. EPA covered the open lagoon, stabilized the sludge, installed gas monitoring wells, and sampled additional soils and sludges.
September 1984
EPA completed the emergency removal action.
January 1985
EPA began a second round of RI/FS activities to investigate the newly discovered conditions at the site.
September 1986
EPA issued a second ROD for the site. The cleanup plan included stabilizing sludge in the lagoon area, completing dike reinforcement, installing a new monitoring well network, and capping the lagoon area.
March 1992
EPA completed the cleanup outlined in the second ROD. As part of the cleanup, EPA stabilized and capped approximately 80,000 cubic yards of contaminated waste.
April 1993
EPA conducted a five-year review and confirmed that the cap is working properly, and the ground surface remains covered with grass.
April 31, 1998
EPA will conduct the next five-year review by this date. 

PADEP will continue to monitor the site including conducting annual inspections to ensure erosion controls are effective, mowing the grass, maintaining the perimeter fence, and periodically sampling the monitoring wells. 

Shaler Site at Bruin Lagoon

The property next to Bruin Lagoon is known as the Shaler Site. PADEP currently is addressing the contamination at that site and expects to complete the cleanup within the next few months. If you would like information about this site, please contact Hal Nye, the PADEP project manager, at 804-332-6074.

Hranica Landfill Site History

The Hranica Landfill Superfund Site covers 15 acres in Buffalo Township, Butler County, Pennsylvania, approximately 21 miles north of Pittsburgh. From 1966 through 1974 the site was used as a landfill, drum disposal area, and incineration facility accepting municipal and industrial wastes. Documentation indicates that the owner treated the wastes using open incineration and poured the liquid wastes directly into the ground. Photos indicate reckless stacking of drums around the site. Some of the drums contained hazardous wastes. 

The timeline below illustrates EPA's actions to cleanup the Hranica Landfill Site. 

EPA conducted a preliminary assessment of the site.
October 1981
EPA proposed the site to the NPL.
September 8, 1983
EPA formally placed the site on the NPL with a HRS score of 51.94.
October 1983 - July 1984
Two PRPs, PPG Industries Inc. (PPG) and ALCOA, conducted extensive removal activities at the site including removing and disposing of more than 19,000 drums of hazardous waste, over 4,000 cubic yards of visibly contaminated soil, and three large vats of waste.
March 1987
EPA and PPG entered into a consent order requiring PPG to conduct RI/FS activities.
June 29, 1990
EPA issued the ROD for Operable Unit (OU) 1 which addressed the contaminated soil that remained onsite after the removal action. The cleanup plan involved placing a cap over five acres of soil contaminated with 300 parts per million or more of lead, placing deed restrictions on the property, constructing an eight-foot fence around the site, and conducting long-term ground and surface water monitoring.
April 1992
PPG began additional sampling and analysis of the ground water. EPA examined the results of the sampling and determined that no further cleanup actions were necessary for the ground water.
May 26, 1994
EPA issued the ROD for OU2 which addressed onsite ground water. EPA selected the No Further Action alternative.
June 1993
EPA began remedial activities for OU1.
October 1996
EPA conducted a site inspection and concluded that the soil cap is completely vegetated with no barren areas remaining.
April 16, 1997
EPA conducted a five-year review of the site and found that the selected remedy remains protective of human health and the environment.
April 16, 2002
EPA will conduct the next five-year review by this date. 

The Superfund Process

  1. Site Discovery
  2. Preliminary Assessment/Site Inspection (PA/SI)
  3. HRS/NPL
  4. Remedial Investigation/Feasibility Study (RI/FS)
  5. Proposed Remedial Action Plan (Proposed Plan)/Record of Decision (ROD)
  6. Remedial Design/Remedial Action (RD/RA)
  7. Operation and Maintenance (O&M)
  8. Closeout
    • As part of closeout activities, a report is prepared to document that the potentially responsible parties (PRPs) or the state will conduct O&M activities and that EPA is no longer responsible for the site. 

For Additional Information, Contact

Patrick Gaughan (3HW43) 
Community Involvement Coordinator 
U.S. EPA, Region III 
303 Methodist Building 
11th and Chapline Streets 
Wheeling, WV 26003 
Phone: 304-234-0238

Garth Connor (3HW22) 
Remedial Project Manager 
U.S. EPA, Region III 
1650 Arch St.
Philadelphia, PA 19103-2029
Phone: 215-814-3209

Information Repositories

The information repository houses the Administrative Record File which is EPA's official collection of reports, correspondence, and other documents that reflect EPA's process of selecting a cleanup plan for a Superfund Site. The information repositories for both sites are at the following locations: 

Hranica Landfill Site

Buffalo Township Municipal Building 
109 Bear Creek Road 
Sarver, PA 16055 
Phone: (412) 259-2648 

Hours: Monday - Friday, 7:00 a.m. - 3:00 p.m.

Bruin Lagoon Site

Bruin Borough Fire Hall 
161 Water Street 
Bruin, PA 16022 
Phone: (412) 753-2622 

Both Sites

U.S. EPA, Region III 
1650 Arch St.
Philadelphia, PA 19103-2029
Phone: (215) 814-3157 
Contact: Anna Butch, butch.anna@epa.gov

Hours: Monday - Friday, 8:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m. 
Please call in advance for an appointment.

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