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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
PA Department of Environmental Protection
Northwest Region, Knox District Office
PADEP Project Manager
Mr. Don Hegburg
White Memorial Building
310 Best Avenue
Knox, PA 16232
Phone: (814) 797-1191
EPA and the PADEP have evaluated available information and have determined that both human exposures to contamination and the migration of contaminated groundwater are under control at the International Waxes facility. The final reports for both the former Coal Ash Disposal Area and the Area South of Cole Creek have been approved. The revised Remedial Investigation and Risk Assessment (RIRA) report for the Main Plant Area submitted in November 2009 was later withdrawn and resubmitted in January 2013.
The International Waxes facility (Facility) is located at the intersection of Routes 46 and 446 in Farmers Valley, McKean County, Pennsylvania. The Facility is divided into three separate areas for remedial purposes: the Main Plant Area located west of Potato Creek and north of Cole Creek, the Area South of Cole Creek, and the Former Coal Ash Disposal Area located east of Potato Creek.
Refinery operations started on the site in 1923. The Facility was originally a petroleum crude oil refinery facility. In 1981, under Quaker State ownership, the Facility was converted from a petroleum refinery to a wax processing plant. The Facility no longer manufactures gasoline, fuel oils, or lubricant. Any materials removed during the de-oiling process were sold to a petroleum refinery in 1981. In 1990 the Facility was sold to Petrowax, who was acquired by Astor Corporation in 1995. Allied Signal acquired Astor and the Facility in 1997, and in 1999 Allied Signal merged with Honeywell, who divested the wax business to International Group in 2005 while retaining ownership of the property.
The plant’s principal operation is to remove the oil from the wax. The plant processes waxy feed stocks into finished waxes. The wax produced at the plant is used in waterproof cups and paper plates, as well as in the manufacture of automobile tires and candles.
Primary contaminants at the facility include petroleum constituents and metals. A plume of light non-aqueous phase liquid (LNAPL) is present in shallow groundwater underneath the Main Plant Area and, to a lesser extent, the Area South of Cole Creek. The LNAPL plume does not appear to affect the deep aquifer. The plume is being contained and remediated via several recovery wells located throughout the Facility. The potential for vapors from this plume to impact workers inside buildings in certain areas of the Facility may be significant; therefore, an institutional control prohibiting building construction in these areas is required. All other potential exposure routes to contamination at the Facility are being controlled by either institutional controls (i.e. shallow groundwater use prohibited and land use restricted) or engineering controls (i.e. recovery well system and sheet pile wall to prevent plume infiltration to surface water bodies).
Several institutional controls have been or will be implemented at the facility:
• Land use restricted to non-residential purposes only
• Groundwater use prohibition (except for deep aquifer)
• No withdrawal of groundwater within shallow or intermediate aquifer underneath facility
• Maintain integrity of capped portions of Coal Ash Disposal Area 1 and 2 and former Tank Bottoms Area
• Prohibition of building structures within former Gasoline Platforming Area and specific areas within Main Plant
More detailed information on these institutional and other engineering controls are discussed in the environmental covenant[15 pp, 530 KB, About PDF].
- Some of the site’s key documents of interest are accessible below:
- Environmental Indicator Determination - Human Exposures [7pp, 24 KB, About PDF]
- Environmental Indicator Determination - Groundwater Migration [8pp, 25 KB, About PDF]
- PA DEP Environmental Convenant [15 pp, 530 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)
International Waxes continues to produce waxy feed stocks and finished waxes at the facility.