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EPA and Department of Energy Sign Cleanup Agreement For Hazardous Waste At Bettis Atomic Power Laboratory

Release Date: 4/26/2001
Contact Information: Bonnie Smith, (215) 814-5543

Bonnie Smith, (215) 814-5543

PHILADELPHIA – The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Department of Energy recently signed a consent order ensuring the cleanup of chemical residues in the soil and groundwater at the Bettis Atomic Power Laboratory in West Mifflin, Pa.

The consent order requires the facility to complete an EPA-approved cleanup plan, including remediation of volatile organic compounds in soil at the facility’s inactive landfill site, completion of a groundwater study, and continuation of environmental monitoring.

The main chemical contaminant at the facility is the common industrial degreaser perchloroethylene (PCE). This chemical was used to clean metal parts after manufacture, and often was spilled or dumped on land.

Acute or chronic exposure to PCE is linked to adverse health effects, including detrimental effects on the liver, kidney, and the central nervous system. EPA has determined that previously monitored PCE levels at the Bettis Lab do not pose an imminent threat to human health or the environment in the community.

The Bettis Atomic Power Laboratory is a Department of Energy facility, operated by contractor Bechtel Bettis, Inc.. The 202-acre facility, located approximately eight miles southeast of Pittsburgh, is involved in the design, development and support of nuclear propulsion systems in U.S. Navy submarines and surface vessels.