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Hazardous Waste Cleanup: AK Steel Corporation (Armco) in Butler, Pennsylvania

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Cleanup Status

AK Steel Corp. is currently working with the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (PADEP) to close-out several solid waste management units (SWMUs) under the RCRA Corrective Action program.  The SWMUs includes several sludge beds that were used as sedimentation basins for the removal of disposal of lime-stabilized, waste pickle liquor sludge, and electric arc furnace emission sludge over the years.  AK Steel Corp. will continue to monitor groundwater to ensure that the groundwater has not been affected by the sludge beds. The primary contaminants in groundwater at the facility are low levels of VOCs and heavy metals.

In June 2017, EPA issued a Corrective Action Statement of Basis. EPA's proposed decision in the Statement of Basis requires maintenance of the integrity of the sludge bed caps, ongoing groundwater monitoring, and land use restrictions through the implementation and maintenance of institutional controls (I Cs). I Cs are non-engineered instruments such as administrative and/or legal controls that minimize the potential for human exposure to contamination and/or protect the integrity of the remedy by limiting land or resource use. EPA proposes to implement the final remedy for the Facility through an enforceable document such as an order, agreement and/or environmental covenant to be entered pursuant to the Pennsylvania Uniform Environmental Covenants Act, 27 Pa. C.S. Sections 6501-6517 (UECA) and recorded with the deed for the Facility property.

 

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Site Description

Interactive map of AK Steel Corp Butler (Armco), Butler, PA

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On September 30, 1999, Armco Inc. merged with and into AK Steel Corporation.  The site is approximately 975 acres in size and is located along the Connoquenseeing Creek in Butler County, Pennsylvania.  It is comprised of two joint facilities. The two facilities consist of the Main Plant, located on Standard Avenue and the Stainless Processing Plant, located on Bantam Avenue.  Although there are two joint facilities, the assigned EPA ID only governs the Main Plant, which includes the Melt Shop Area, the Hilltop Processing Area, and the former Sludge Bed Areas.

The facility operations is part of the Specialty Flat-Rolled Steels segment that produces flat-rolled chrome stainless steels, specialty stainless sheet and strip steels, electrical steels and galvanized steels.  The various operations throughout the facility require the use of a considerable amount of water.  The facility draws most of its water from the Connoquenseeing Creek.  The water is used in a closed loop recirculating system for cooling.

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Contaminants at this Facility

Groundwater:
As required for the closure of the former Sludge Beds # Four, Five, Six and the Chromium Reduction Pond (CRP), groundwater monitoring wells were installed to monitor the groundwater for constituents that were deposited in the former sludge beds and pond. Groundwater monitoring will continue for the next thirty years at such time the monitoring program will be re-evaluated. There are no residential wells within a two-mile radius of the facility.
 
Subsurface Soil:
The PADEP supervised the closures of the former Sludge Beds, Chromium Reduction Pond (CRP), Underground Storage Tanks, and the abandon drum area. As part of the closures, contaminated surface and subsurface soils for these units and area were excavated and disposed off-site. Confirmatory soil samples were conducted to ensure that soil excavation met the clean-up goals. The excavated areas were backfilled with clean soil. In addition to backfilling portions of the former sludge beds and complete backfilling of the CRP , theses units were also capped with a synthetic cover and revegetated.
 

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Institutional and Engineering Controls at this Facility

    Proposed Institutional Controls include maintenance of the integrity of the sludge bed caps, ongoing groundwater monitoring, and land use restrictions through the implementation of an environmental covenant.

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    Land Reuse Information at this Facility

    The facility is under continued use.

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    Site Responsibility at this Facility

    RCRA Corrective Action activities at this facility have been conducted under the direction of EPA Regiom 3 with assistance from  Pennsylvania DEP.

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