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EPA Project Manager
Mr. Griff Miller
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency - Region III
1650 Arch Street
Mail code: 3LC30
Philadelphia, PA 19103-2029
EPA has evaluated available information and has determined that both human exposures to contamination and migration of contaminated groundwater are under control at the Ferro Glass facility. The December 2009 groundwater sampling event showed levels of total cadmium and lead up to 110 ug/L and 310 ug/L, respectively, which are below the Pennsylvania Act 2 Medium-Specific Concentration of 500 ug/L for each contaminant when total dissolved solids are greater than 2500 ug/L. Dissolved cadmium and lead were either non-detect or below levels of concern. A remedy for the facility may be possible by the end of the year that includes institutional and engineering controls to restrict land use and on-site groundwater use.
In June 2004 an Environmental Indicator (EI) inspection was performed at the facility, which included a review of documentation on previous site investigations and a site visit. Historically, high levels of metals—particularly lead, cadmium, and chromium—have been the contaminants of concern at the site. Several soil removals occurred in the 1990s and 2000s that eliminated the possibility of metals contamination reaching groundwater; however, in certain areas of the site groundwater had already become contaminated with metals. Since 2004, levels of dissolved metal contaminants in groundwater have been consistently below levels of concern at the facility.
The Ferro facility is located on a 12-acre triangular piece of land in Canton Township, Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania. The facility was purchased in 1946 by Drakenfeld and Company, who produced glass enamels, glass oxides, and clayware colors. These products have remained the primary focus of the facility ever since. Powder pigments are currently sold to the plastics and vinyl siding industries, pastes are sold to the automotive and architectural industries for glass decorations, and "Drakotherms" are also produced. These consist of solids at room temperature that are used to decorate bottles and glassware, liquid precious metals that are used to decorate fine china, and organic products (solids, liquids or pastes) that are used in a variety of applications.
In 1966, Hercules, Inc. of Wilmington, Delaware, purchased Drakenfeld Company, and all Drakenfeld operations were consolidated at the West Wylie Avenue facility. The company was later bought by Ciba-Geigy Corporation in 1979 and filed the initial Notification of Hazardous Waste Activity to USEPA in August 1980 under this name. In 1993, Drakenfeld and the Ceramic Colors and Special Products Division of Degussa were incorporated as a joint venture firm with Cerdec Corporation Drakenfeld Products as the U.S. subsidiary of Cerdec AG with worldwide headquarters in Frankfurt, Germany. The facility submitted another revised Notification of Hazardous Waste Activity to USEPA in October 2000 to reflect a change in name and ownership (in 1999) to DMC2 Degussa Metals Catalysts Cerdec Corporation. The facility changed its name to Ferro Glass and Color Corporation when Ferro Corporation (Ferro) purchased DMC2 in September 2001. Currently, the Washington, PA facility is an international manufacturer and distributor of glass coatings, frits, ceramic stains, and pigments for the glass, ceramic, paint, plastic and coating industries. It produces approximately 11,000,000 pounds per year of product.
Primary contaminants at the facility include heavy metals, particularly lead, cadmium, and chromium that were used in paint pigments. Soil and groundwater are contaminated with these metals; however, several removals of contaminated soil have reduced the likelihood of exposure to contaminated soil, and dissolved concentrations of heavy metals in groundwater have consistently been below levels of concern.
- Some of the site’s key documents of interest are accessible below:
- Environmental Indicator Determination - Human Exposures [ 8 pp, 163 KB, About PDF]
- Environmental Indicator Determination - Groundwater Migration [10 pp, 184 KB, about pdf
- Documents and reports regarding this facility also can be reviewed in person at these locations:
U.S. EPA Region III
Land & Chemicals Division
1650 Arch Street-11th Floor
Philadelphia, PA 19103
Call for an appointment.
- Submit a FOIA Request
Get instructions on how to submit a FOIA request. Additional fee for requests over 100 pages.
Click on a thumbnail to enlarge the photo)
Ferro Glass continues to use the facility to produce glass coatings and pigments for the glass, ceramic, paint, plastic, and coating industries.