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Hazardous Waste Cleanup: Philadelphia Process and Distribution Center (Formerly: GE Skeats High Power Lab) in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

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Cleanup Status

In March 2013, EPA determined that the human heath exposures under control and the migration of contaminated groundwater under control  Environmental Indicators had been met. These Environmental Indicator evaluations took into account the soils investigation and the facility’s intention to restrict the future use of the land to non-residential scenarios only and the groundwater to non-potable uses.

On September 22, 2016, EPA issued its final corrective action decision for the facility as being complete with controls. Institutional Controls for the facility consists of: land use restriction (limited to non-residential use), inspection and maintenance of capped areas. These controls will be implemented via an Environmental Covenant.

Cleanup Background

FORMER GE SKEATS HIGH POWER LABORATORY
7500 Lindbergh Boulevard, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Groundwater
Across the site, there are 20 monitoring wells which were used to assess groundwater quality between 1990 and 1999. The 1999 Request for Non-Use Aquifer Determination (NUAD), and the 1999 Phase II Environmental Site Assessment Report identified several contaminants found in the groundwater above EPA's screening values used to initially evaluate data: the maximum contaminant level (MCL) for drinking water or the EPA regional screening level table standard for tap water.

The contaminants found in groundwater were: tetrachloroethylene (PCE) (MCL=5ug/l), trichloroethylene (TCE) (MCL=5ug/l), benzene (MCL=5ug/l), naphthalene (tap water=0.14ug/l), vinyl chloride (MCL=2ug/l), bis(2-ethlyhexyl)phthalate (MCL=6ug/l), chromium (MCL=100ug/l) and manganese (tap water=320ug/l). Primarily, these contaminants were found at levels only slightly exceeding their screening values. Only benzene, PCE, trichloroethylene (TCE) and naphthalene were found at more increased concentrations and only very localized. There is no widespread distribution of any contaminants. No detection of these contaminants has been found at the downgradient or perimeter wells, which indicates no contamination goes off-site. 

Soil
A number of environmental investigations and clean-up activities have been completed at the site between 1980 and 2004. In 1998-1999, Weston conducted field activities based previous investigations. Their results are compiled in the 1999 Phase II Environmental Site Assessment Report, which identified the following areas where soil samples exceeded EPA's risk screening values. The contaminants found in soil were and their screening values are: benzo(a)anthracene (2.1mg/kg), benzo(a)pyrene (0.21mg/kg), arsenic (1.6mg/kg) and lead (800mg/kg).

A total of 99 soil samples were taken across the site in 1998 and 1999. Analytical results show only six (6) samples locations slightly exceeding EPA's health-based standards.  These were found primarily at shallow depth and only very localized. There is no widespread distribution of any contaminants.

PCBs
As the facility's primary operations involved polychlorinated biphenyl (PCB)-containing fluids, separate investigations were performed to address characterization and remediation of the PCB-related contamination.

In 1999, in Buildings 20, 22, 22A and 23, the concrete walls, ceilings and floors were cleaned of PCBs to meet the facility-chosen criteria of 4ppm. The buildings and structures were then demolished and the crushed concrete used for on-site fill under the new building. Any material which did not meet criteria was disposed of offsite in approved landfills. In addition, the PCB-impacted pre-gale oil separator, portions of the high yard drainage, the cap yard and test cells were disposed of-off site as PCB-contaminated waste.

In 2003 additional investigation was conducted for impacted soils near former Building #20. A total of 672.22 tons of soil was excavated and removed off-site. Post-excavation sampling was conducted throughout the excavation. All post-excavation samples were below 10ppm for PCBs, the screening criteria chosen for the site. EPA's Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) program determined that additional clean-up efforts were not needed.

Under TSCA site clean-up regulations, soils and crush concrete may be left on site provided the PCB concentration is below 10ppm in all samples and the area is under a cover. For this site, the cover is provided by a portion of the new building foundation and adjacent parking lot.

Exposure pathways

The site currently is 95 percent covered by buildings and paved parking lots, with landscaping at the perimeter. There is no current or expected exposure to workers at the facility to soils or groundwater. The groundwater at this site is not used for any potable or industrial or agricultural purposes. Also, based on the NUAD, the indoor air within the Unites States Postal Services Processing and Distribution Center and neighboring properties is not suspected to be impacted by volatile organic compounds/semi-volatile organic compounds contamination remaining in the site soils and groundwater.

FORMER PENN BOTTLE AND SUPPLY COMPANY
7150 Lindbergh Boulevard, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

The Processing and Distribution Center was constructed on lands that include the former GE Skeats High Power Laboratory, a portion of the Singer Corporation property and the former Penn Bottle and Supply Company. Buildings occupying the GE and Penn Bottle site have been demolished. Past operations conducted by GE included load testing of electric transformers containing dielectric fluids with PCBs. Penn Bottle was a manufacturer of glass and plastic bottles.

GE Skeats was regulated under EPA's Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) Corrective Action Program, as it stored hazardous waste during its operation. However, Penn Bottle and Singer Corporation were not regulated under the RCRA Program, as they did not treat, store or dispose of hazardous waste. Penn Bottle, however, was regulated by Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection(PADEP) for their underground storage tanks.

Several environmental investigations were completed at GE Skeats between 1999 and 2004. These investigations encompassed soil, and groundwater.

Investigation
Penn Bottle had three underground storage tanks and three above-ground storage tanks containing gasoline, diesel fuels and waste oils. The table below (from site characterization report, July 29, 2003, and Act Two Final Report, September 2005) summarizes the removal and investigation of these tanks.

Tank ID Status

Tank 1

Tank 1 (UST) was removed and surface release was excavated.  Post-excavation soil and water samples meet applicable Statewide Health Standards (SHS). No further investigative work was done.

Tank 2

Tank 2 (AST) was removed from inside a bldg. and no release to environment was found in files or through visual investigation.  No further investigative work was done.

Tank 3

Tank 3 (UST) was removed and a release was noted Impacted soil was over-excavated to groundwater and disposed of off-site. Two soil samples slightly exceeded SHS for ethlybenzene and naphthalene at the groundwater interface. Sampling indicates groundwater impacted with benzene, ethylbenzene and naphthalene. Contaminants not migrating off-site as point-of-compliance wells are non-detect.  Groundwater monitoring continued through 2005.

Tank 4

Tank 4 (UST) was removed and a release was noted. Impacted soil was over-excavated to groundwater and disposed of off-site. Product was observed in groundwater near tank. Monitoring and recovery wells were installed and product was recovered. No product has been detected since at any of the site wells. Groundwater monitoring continued through 2005.

Tanks 5 & 6

Tanks 5 and 6 (ASTs) were removed. Impacted soil was excavated and disposed of off-site. Post-excavation samples were non-detect or meet state-wide heath standards (SHSs). No further investigative work was done.

Groundwater
Site-wide groundwater monitoring was undertaken in addition to the above tank-specific activities. From 2000 – 2005, the quality, elevation and flow direction of the groundwater were assessed. Other than in the well immediately adjacent to Tank 3, and one detection of 1,2-dibromomethane in another well, no constituents of concern were found at the site above state-wide health standards in the most recent sampling rounds of sampling in 2003, 2004 and 2005. Modeling indicates benzene, ethylbenzene and naphthalene would not migrate past the property boundary above state-wide health standards and sampling indicates these constituents are attenuating over time. PADEP provided Act Two liability protection under Act Two for benzene, ethlybenzene, and naphthalene in groundwater, as they met the Residential State-Wide Health Standards.

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Site Description

Interactive Map of Philadelphia Process and Distribution Center, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania


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The Processing and Distribution Center was constructed on lands that include the former GE Skeats High Power Laboratory, a portion of the Singer Corporation property and the former Penn Bottle and Supply Company. Buildings occupying the GE and Penn Bottle site have been demolished. Past operations conducted by GE included load testing of electric transformers containing dielectric fluids with PCBs. Penn Bottle was a manufacturer of glass and plastic bottles.

FORMER GE SKEATS HIGH POWER LABORATORY
7500 Lindbergh Boulevard, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

GE Skeats was regulated under EPA's Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) Corrective Action Program, as it stored hazardous waste during its operation. However, Penn Bottle and Singer Corporation were not regulated under the RCRA Program, as they did not treat, store or dispose of hazardous waste. Penn Bottle, however, was regulated by PADEP for their underground storage tanks.

Several environmental investigations were completed at GE Skeats between 1999 and 2004. These investigations encompassed soil, and groundwater.

GE Skeats tested high, medium and low-voltage equipment such as circuit breakers, fuses, disconnects, switch gears, transformers, etc. for parameters such as standards conformance, short-circuit capabilities, performance and other electrical testing. Operations were limited to testing and this facility did not produce or manufacture equipment. Today, the property is owned and occupied by the United States Postal Service (USPS); the former site is occupied by a new USPS building.

FORMER PENN BOTTLE AND SUPPLY COMPANY
7150 Lindbergh Boulevard, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

The Former Penn Bottle and Supply Company property at 7150 Lindbergh Blvd, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania was never regulated under the US EPA RCRA Corrective Action Program. Hazardous waste was not treated, stored or disposed of on the property. However, as the Penn Bottle property is now part of a larger property, and that larger property is composed of acres that were regulated under the RCRA Corrective Action Program, there is interest on the environmental condition of the entire larger property. The following fact sheet was developed by EPA to summarize the environmental conditions at the Former Penn Bottle site.

Current
The former Penn Bottle and Supply Company property is currently the northeastern-most portion of the United States Postal Service Philadelphia Processing and Distribution Center in Philadelphia. The property was purchased in 1999, along with a portion of the Singer Corporation property and the GE Skeats property, to comprise the 50-acre Postal facility. Currently, a large paved parking lot is located on top of the Former Penn Bottle site.

Several environmental investigations were completed at Penn Bottle between 1999 and 2005. Reports of the investigations were submitted to PADEP's Land Recycling Program, known as Act Two, in 2003 and 2005.  On November 1, 2005, PADEP approved the Act Two Final Report submitted by RT Environmental for Penn Bottle, and granted liability protection under Act 2 for benzene, ethlybenzene, and naphthalene in groundwater, as these were the only constituents of concern and they met the Residential State-Wide Health Standards.

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Contaminants at this Facility

FORMER GE SKEATS HIGH POWER LABORATORY
7500 Lindbergh Boulevard, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

The contaminants found in groundwater were: tetrachloroethylene (PCE) (MCL=5ug/l), trichloroethylene (TCE) (MCL=5ug/l), benzene (MCL=5ug/l), naphthalene (tap water=0.14ug/l), vinyl chloride (MCL=2ug/l), bis(2-ethlyhexyl)phthalate (MCL=6ug/l), chromium (MCL=100ug/l), and manganese (tap water=320ug/l). Primarily, these contaminants were found at levels only slightly exceeding their screening values. Only benzene, PCE, TCE and naphthalene were found at more increased concentrations and only very localized. There is no widespread distribution of any contaminants. No detection of these contaminants has been found at the downgradient or perimeter wells, which indicates no contamination goes off-site.

GE Skeats' primary operations involved PCB-containing fluids, separate investigations were performed to address characterization and remediation of the PCB-related contamination. After extensive site cleanup, PCB concentration is below 10ppm in all samples and the area is under a cover.

FORMER PENN BOTTLE AND SUPPLY COMPANY
7150 Lindbergh Boulevard, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Penn Bottle had three underground storage tanks and three above-ground storage tanks containing gasoline, diesel fuels and waste oils.

On November 1, 2005, PADEP approved the Act Two Final Report submitted by RT Environmental for Penn Bottle, and granted liability protection under Act Two for benzene, ethlybenzene, and naphthalene in groundwater, as these were the only constituents of concern and they met the Residential State-Wide Health Standards.

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Institutional and Engineering Controls at this Facility

Currently there are no Institutional Controls at the facility.

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Land Reuse Information at this Facility

The site 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 Region 3 with assistance from PADEP.

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