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NPL Site Narrative for Sharon Steel Corporation (Farrell Works Disposal Area)

Hickory Township, Pennsylvania

Federal Register Notice:  July 28, 1998 (PDF) (7 pp, 179K, About PDF)

Conditions at Proposal (March 1998): The site consists of several waste disposal locations along the western side of the Shenango River. The site was associated with the former Sharon Steel Corporation (SSC) steel manufacturing plant located across the Shenango River. The SSC plant operated from 1900 to 1992, producing forging quality hot- and cold-rolled carbon and alloy steel products. SSC filed for bankruptcy in 1992 and later sold the steel manufacturing plant to Caparo Steel Company.

The disposal area was originally an undisturbed grassland and a flood plain of the Shenango River. SSC began using the area around 1900 for the storage and disposal of various slags and wastes, including white slag, basic oxygen furnace (BOF) slag, electric arc furnace slag, and by-product. From 1949 to 1981, SSC dumped waste acids and oils over very hot slag material in an area called the acid-slag disposal area; the acids dumped included sulfuric acid, hydrochloric acid pickle acid (also known as pickling liquor), and chromic acid rinse. SSC also operated an unpermitted landfill for the disposal of BOF sludge and demolition debris until 1983.

Numerous environmental investigations have occurred at the site since the early 1970s. Stressed vegetation, poor surface water quality, and evidence of the discharge of waste acids and oils into ground and surface water have been observed. Chemical analyses of the various waste sources have shown contaminants such as phenol and numerous metals, including arsenic, cadmium, chromium, lead, and nickel. Ground water near the acid-slag area contains elevated levels of metals. Soils adjacent to the acid-slag disposal area are contaminated with metals and polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs). Aqueous and sediment samples from the wetlands adjacent to the slag piles and the tributary leading from the wetlands to the Shenango River also show metals contamination.

The Pennsylvania Department of Health (PADOH), in conjunction with the Federal Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry, prepared a health consultation for the site in June 1997. PADOH concluded that the slag disposal area presents a public health hazard to site visitors (trespassers) due to potential irritation from contact with alkaline pond water and physical threats posed by slumping or sliding slag piles. PADOH noted that access to the site is unrestricted and evidence of frequent foot and vehicular traffic exists.

The former SSC manufacturing plant is not currently being considered part of the National Priorities List site because this area is being addressed separately under the oversight of the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (PADEP). The current owner and operator of the manufacturing facility, Caparo Steel Company, entered into a consent order and agreement with PADEP in 1994 to eliminate all imminent and substantial threats to public health and the environment posed by the facility.

The slag material on the site is leased to the Dunbar Slag Company, which processes it at an on-site facility for use as road and construction aggregate.

Status (July 1998): EPA is considering various alternatives for the site.

For more information about the hazardous substances identified in this narrative summary, including general information regarding the effects of exposure to these substances on human health, please see the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) ToxFAQs. ATSDR ToxFAQs can be found on the Internet at ATSDR - ToxFAQs (http://www.atsdr.cdc.gov/toxfaqs/index.asp) or by telephone at 1-888-42-ATSDR or 1-888-422-8737.

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