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Hazardous Waste Cleanup: Calumet Penreco LLC in Karns City, Pennsylvania

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Cleanup Status

The final remedy for the facility is complete and consists of a combination of engineering and institutional controls, which are described in more detail below and in the Statement of Basis.  The Final Decision for the facility became effective on September 29, 2014.

As of July 2014, two wells continue to show minimal amounts (0.09 feet or less) of light non-aqueous phase liquid (LNAPL) on top of groundwater beneath the facility.  This material continues to be removed until performance criteria are met in accordance with the 1999 Revised Corrective Action Plan.

The permanent shutdown of the 19-well groundwater collection system was approved in September 2012 after a two-year temporary shutdown study during which residual levels of LNAPL in a few wells on-site did not increase appreciably, suggesting that the collection system was no longer needed to maintain capture of remaining LNAPL.  In addition, surface water samples from the south branch of Bear Creek were collected upstream, midstream, and downstream of the facility in July 2012.  No contaminants were detected in these surface water samples, suggesting that the small amounts of contamination remaining in soil and groundwater beneath the facility are not impacting the creek.

EPA and Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (PADEP) conducted a site visit of the facility in August 2008 in order to assess operations and corrective actions ongoing at the facility.  The Upper and Lower Waste Disposal Areas continue to be monitored via the groundwater monitoring system in each area.  Leachate from the Upper Disposal Area is collected and treated with lime to neutralize acidity, put in a sludge drying bed, then hauled to a landfill.

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Site Description

Interactive Map of Calumet Penreco LLC, Karns City, Pennsylvania


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The Calumet Penreco facility is an approximately 288-acre site in Fairview Township, Butler County, Pennsylvania.  It is located along the banks of the South Branch of Bear Creek.  It is one of several oil refineries in the area.

This site was constructed in 1878 as a petroleum refinery which processed local Pennsylvania crude oil.  The company was purchased by Pennzoil in 1972 who converted the facility to the production of white mineral oils, high purity kerosene-based solids, and rust preventatives.  Currently, the facility converts feedstock to four product types: white oils or food grade mineral oils, petrolatum, kero-base products, and specialty products.  Many products have been approved by the Food and Drug Administration for food applications and uses in the pharmaceutical and cosmetic industries.  Calumet Specialty Products acquired the facility in 2008.

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Contaminants at this Facility

Primary contaminants at the facility include benzene, toluene, ethyl benzene, and xylenes (BTEX). Concentrations of these contaminants in soil are relatively low, and due to their ease of biodegradability are not considered a threat to human health or the environment. Residual BTEX contamination remains in groundwater; however, significant exposures to groundwater beneath the facility are unlikely and surface water sampling has demonstrated that this residual contamination is not impacting the south branch of Bear Creek. Groundwater is not used in the vicinity of the facility.

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Institutional and Engineering Controls at this Facility

    Institutional /Engineering Control Summary
    Restrictions or Controls that Address: Yes No
    Groundwater Use
    X
     
    Residential Use
     
    X
    Excavation
     
    X
    Vapor Intrusion
     
    X
    Capped Area(s)
    X
     
    Other Engineering Controls
    X
     
    Other Restrictions
     
    X

      As described in both the Statement of Basis and Final Decision, the final remedy for the facility relies on engineering controls to operate and maintain the leachate collection system and the Upper Disposal Area (UDA) cap, and to monitor and remove LNAPL from remaining impacted groundwater wells.  The final remedy also relies on institutional controls to maintain the integrity of the UDA cap and to prohibit potable use of groundwater at the facility.  It is anticipated that these controls will be implemented and enforced through an environmental covenant.

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      Land Reuse Information at this Facility

      Calumet Penreco continues to use the facility for the manufacture of white mineral oils, petrolatums, and other light petroleum-derived products.

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      Site Responsibility at this Facility

      Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) Corrective Action activities at this facility have been conducted under the direction of EPA Region 3.

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