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NPL Site Narrative for Hellertown Manufacturing Co.

Hellertown, Pennsylvania

Federal Register Notice:  March 31, 1989

Conditions at proposal (January 22, 1987): Hellertown Manufacturing Co., a subsidiary of Champion Spark Plug Co., of Toledo, Ohio, formerly manufactured spark plugs at 1770 Main Street in the borough of Hellertown, Northampton County, Pennsylvania. The site covers slightly over 8 acres in a residential and business district. Operations commenced at the facility in 1930 and continued until it closed in October 1982.

Between 1930 and 1976, Hellertown used five on-site lagoons for the disposal of its wastes. According to a preliminary assessment made by the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Resources (PA DER), the wastes disposed of on-site included zinc plating waste, chrome dip waste, cleaners, and cutting oils. The lagoons were unlined, permitting wastes to seep into local soils and rock strata. The lagoons covered approximately 50,000 square feet and could hold an estimated 18,400 cubic yards. In 1970, the company reported that it discharged 300,000 drums of wastes to the lagoons. In 1976, all five lagoons were filled with excavated material from construction of the City of Bethlehem Waste Water Treatment Plant. From 1976 until 1982, Hellertown discharged its wastes into the local sanitary sewer system.

Ground water underlying the site is contaminated with 1,2-dichloroethylene, trichloroethylene, vinyl chloride, tetrachloroethylene, and 1,1,1-trichloroethane, according to PA DER tests conducted in early 1985. This aquifer within 3 miles of the site supplies water to the Hellertown Water Co., Bethlehem Steel Corp.'s plant, Hellertown, and private residences, affecting an estimated 14,000 people.

Surface water is potentially threatened by the site because the filled lagoons have no diversion structures. Saucon Creek and Lehigh River are used for fishing within 3 miles downstream of the site.

Status (March 31, 1989): On February 22, 1988, Champion Spark Plug Co. entered into a Consent Order with EPA under CERCLA Section 106. Under the order, the company is to conduct a remedial investigation/feasibility study to determine the type and extent of contamination at the site and identify alternatives for remedial action. The work is scheduled to be completed in 1990.

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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