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NPL Site Narrative for Franklin Slag Pile (MDC)

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Federal Register Notice:  September 05, 2002 (PDF) (9 pp, 193K, About PDF)

Conditions at Proposal (September 13, 2001): The Franklin Slag Pile (MDC) site (FSP) is located in the Port Richmond section of northeast Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The FSP site consists of a large pile of copper slag situated on an approximately four-acre lot. The volume of the slag pile is approximately 68,000 cubic yards. The slag was generated as a by-product from copper smelting conducted at the adjacent Franklin Smelting and Refining Corporation (FSRC). MDC Industries (MDC) sold the slag as sand-blasting grit in 50-pound bags and by the truckload for 40 years. MDC ceased operations and abandoned the site on December 30, 1999.

The slag pile is located on a lot measuring approximately 300 feet by 550 feet. The lot is bordered by a CONRAIL rail spur to the north; by the lagoon and wetland area belonging to the Philadelphia Water Department (PWD) Northeast Water Treatment Plant to the north and east; by Delaware Avenue and Tioga Marine Terminal to the southeast; by Castor Avenue, portions of the former FSRC site, and the Philadelphia Gas Works (PGW) to the southwest; and by FSRC to the northwest. The Delaware River is less than 1/4 mile to the southeast. No residents are located within 1/4 mile of the site.

While MDC operated, material from the slag pile was observed to have migrated off the property on all four sides of the site. The entire sidewalk area between MDC and Delaware Avenue was covered in black slag material. Black slag also covered an inactive rail line bordering the Tioga Marine Terminal on the north side. Storm drains along Castor and Delaware Avenues, which empty directly into the Delaware River, were caked with slag that had washed off the property. Slag was observed in a wetland area on the PWD property. Slag was observed being carried by the wind off the property. Tioga Marine Terminal employees complained of slag material in their beverages. MDC was cited by EPA Region III Water Protection Division (WPD) for releasing lead in storm water run-off that was captured by storm drains that discharged into the Delaware River.

Samples of the slag revealed leachable concentrations of lead up to 36,900 micrograms per liter (µg/L) and concentrations of lead up to 9,060 milligrams per kilogram (mg/kg). In January 2000, an emergency response action was initiated at the site. The action included capping the slag pile in place; decontaminating and removing equipment stored in the slag pile; removing slag that had spilled off site onto sidewalks, roads, and adjacent properties; removing visible slag from the wetland adjacent to the northeastern side of the site; excavating slag and contaminated soil from the active and inactive railroads located southeast and northwest of the site; and cleaning slag from adjacent storm drains. Not all of the slag was removed from the surrounding properties.

Air samples collected during the emergency response actions revealed an observed release of beryllium, copper, and lead to air. While MDC operated, MDC was cited for releasing lead into the air at concentrations exceeding ambient air standards.

Status (September 2002): EPA is considering various alternatives for this 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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