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EPA Environmental News

Contact: Carrie Deitzel (215) 814-5525

September 25, 1997-379


PHILADELPHIA - A hazardous waste cleanup underway at the Strasburg Landfill Site in Newlin and West Bradford Townships, Chester County, Pennsylvania, has stopped because the construction contractor, Smith Technology Corporation (SmithTech), is in financial distress. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has announced that the site is stabilized and poses no danger to local residents or the environment.

"Although this is an unfortunate situation, it has arisen at a fortunate point in the construction schedule," said James P. Harper, EPA Remedial Project Manager.

The mechanisms needed to protect the community and environment are already in place. The erosion and sedimentation control system is complete and should prevent runoff from flowing into the nearby streams. The leachate treatment system has been renovated. Also, it is early enough in the growing season to seed bare portions of the site so that grass may take root before winter. The EPA and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) will continue to operate and maintain the leachate collection and treatment system as well as other sediment and erosion control measures until work can be resumed at the site.

SmithTech was awarded the Strasburg Landfill construction contract in December 1996, following a typical competitive bid process. The current financial problems SmithTech is having do not relate to the Strasburg Landfill project. EPA and the USACE have accepted and paid for all work for which bills have been presented to date. As of July 1997, the company has been paid approximately $1.2 million of the $7.4 million dollar contract. EPA has not yet been billed for work completed since July.

SmithTech remains the contractor of record. Some equipment and a small SmithTech crew remain onsite. EPA and the USACE are working with SmithTech and its bonding company to resolve the current situation.

The Strasburg Landfill Site is a 22-plus acre former landfill located on a 220-acre property. The landfill had a permit to receive industrial and heavy metals waste by the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Resources (PADER) in 1979. Due to operational violations PADER ordered the landfill to close in the summer of 1983. The landfill was, subsequently, regraded and capped.

In response to community concerns, EPA began investigating the landfill in 1989. Three Records of Decision, documents which lay out the work to be done, followed which required construction of a leachate collection and treatment system, installation of a fence to restrict access to the site, and regrading and recapping the landfill. SmithTech had nearly completed regrading the landfill and had begun construction of the new cap by installing its first layer when the current problem arose.

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