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1650 Arch Street  Philadelphia, PA  19103-2029
Phone - 215/814-5120 Fax - 215/814-5102

EPA Environmental News

Contact: Hal Yates (215) 814-5530
May 19, 1998


WILMINGTON, DE - The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control (DNREC) and the City of Wilmington are prepared to begin a hazardous waste cleanup at the Diamond State Salvage Company site, located on 14th Street, between Pine and Church Streets in Wilmington.

The cleanup will cause a temporary inconvenience by the proposed closing of 14th Street, between Pine and Church Streets. However, once the cleanup is completed, the
site will be significantly improved and available for redevelopment. The cleanup will take approximately 18 months at an estimated cost of $5.5 million.

EPA has found that onsite soil is contaminated with lead and polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) at levels posing unacceptable health risks. These contaminants could
pose a public health threat by skin contact, swallowing, and inhaling. If left uncontrolled,EPA's project managers believe that the contamination will continue to migrate off site. The site is located near a residential area, schools and a recreation area on the banks of the Brandywine Creek where people frequently fish, despite posted warnings by DNREC that fish tissue may be contaminated.

In 1994, DNREC became aware of the site during a permitting process to control storm water at Wilmington area salvage yards. For several years since then, EPA and
DNREC sought to enforce the cleanup of the property by the Diamond State Salvage Company. When these attempts failed, EPA and DNREC recently sought the participation of the City of Wilmington in the effort to clean up this site. The cleanup will be financed by Superfund monies.

The first phase of the cleanup to be started this week, will achieve site security,including the construction of a fence and the start of stabilization efforts of the
contaminants to prevent them from moving off site. Because the entire site is contaminated, EPA has asked Wilmington officials to close off 14th Street to limit access
to contaminated areas of the site, to stop illegal dumping, which has been observed in the area; and to provide an uncontaminated location for site support activities, construction trailers and site command post which are essential to managing the cleanup. The site will
also be placed under 24-hour guard.

EPA and DNREC, along with Wilmington officials, are in the process of 1)developing plans to remove off-site contamination in the Brandywine Creek, and
surrounding environment, 2) completing study of the nature, and extent of on-site conditions; and 3) determining the appropriate actions to clean up the site and eliminate the public health and environmental threats.
The final phase calls for the cleanup of contaminated soil on the site and contaminated sediment in Brandywine Creek. Contaminated stream bank materials will be excavated and creek sediments will be dredged. The contaminated materials may then be consolidated for on-site containment by the construction of retaining walls, slurry walls, and a protective cap. Ultimately, the cleanup will eliminate the health threats posed by the site and allow this important waterfront property to be returned to public

The site occupies a 4.2-acre site adjacent to the Pine Street Bridge and across the river from the Frederick Douglass Stubbs Elementary School and the Howard Career
Center. The Diamond State Salvage Company operated the facility from 1949 to 1992, when it was a full-scale salvage operation, removing salvageable metals from
automobiles, appliances, batteries, etc. The metals were then shipped to several scrap metal buyers. Some materials were left on site, such as rubber and plastics. Others were taken to a local landfill.