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Valmont TCE Site Proposed for Superfund Hazardous Site List

Release Date: 6/14/2001
Contact Information: Ruth Wuenschel, (215) 814-5540

Ruth Wuenschel, (215) 814-5540

PHILADELPHIA - The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency today proposed to add the Valmont TCE site near Hazleton, Pa. to the Superfund National Priorities List (NPL) of hazardous waste sites. Locally, EPA also added the Lower Darby Creek Area site, located partially in Darby Twp. and partially in Philadelphia, and proposed to add the Watson Johnson Landfill near Quakertown, Pa. Nationwide, EPA is adding 10 sites to the NPL and proposing to add another 10 sites.

The NPL is a national list of sites where contaminants have impacted or might impact public health or the environment. NPL sites undergo a thorough investigation of the nature and extent of the contamination. EPA or the parties responsible for the contamination then take appropriate actions to address whatever risks the sites pose.

The Valmont TCE Site is located in Hazle Township and the Borough of West Hazleton, in Luzerne County. The site consists of the former Chromatex Plant #2, located on Jaycee Drive near Deer Run Road, and contaminated ground water in the nearby residential neighborhood on Deer Run Road, Bent Pine Trail/Road, Twin Oaks Road, and possibly Fawn Drive. Ground water contamination at the site was discovered in October 1987 when sampling of residential drinking water wells revealed the presence of trichloroethylene (TCE) and other volatile organic compounds (VOCs) in 23 residential wells and in the Chromatex facility well. Chromatex operated at Plant #2 from July 1978 until April 2001, and used TCE from 1978 to 1988 to apply stain repellent to upholstery fabric.

After the contamination was discovered in 1987, EPA immediately provided bottled water and carbon filters to affected residences. EPA then oversaw the installation of public water supply lines into the neighborhood, thereby permanently eliminating the risk of drinking contaminated well water. While the immediate threat was addressed in 1987, the site needs to be cleaned up to eliminate any long-term or future potential risk to the public or the environment.

Last month, EPA collected selected basement air samples in the neighborhood adjacent to the former Chromatex Plant #2, and also collected ground water samples from residential wells located further from the facility, both along Route 93 (Susquehanna Parkway) and in the Chapel Hill neighborhood. EPA is currently awaiting the results of this sampling.

The proposal to add the site to the NPL begins a 60-day public comment period, during which time the public may provide comment or additional information about the site. EPA will respond to the public’s input, and if there are no errors in the proposal, the site will then be added to the list. The public comment period begins June 14 and ends August 13. Public comments must be submitted in writing, including an original plus three copies, to: Docket Coordinator, U.S. EPA Headquarters, CERCLA Docket Office, Mail Code 5201G, 401 M St. SW, Washington, DC 20460.

Documents related to the NPL proposal may be reviewed beginning Monday, June 18 at the Hazleton Area Public Library, located at 55 N. Church St. in Hazleton. The proposal documents are also available for review at the EPA Region III Superfund Docket in Philadelphia. For additional information, please contact the Region III Docket at (215) 814-5364. Some proposal documents are also available on the Internet at

EPA will hold a public meeting about the proposal to add the Valmont TCE site to the NPL on Wednesday, June 20 at 7:00 pm, at the St. Francis of Assisi Church, located at 544 N. Broad St. in West Hazleton. For more information about this meeting, please contact Bill Hudson, Community Involvement Coordinator, at (215) 814-5532.