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Eastern Diversified Metals Site to be Completed Under Federal Agreement

Release Date: 8/27/2003
Contact Information: David Sternberg (215) 814-5548

Contact: David Sternberg (215) 814-5548

PHILADELPHIA -The U.S. has settled the government’s claims for the cleanup of the Eastern Diversified Metals Superfund site in Rush Township, Pa., the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced today.

In a proposed consent decree filed by the U.S. Department of Justice on behalf of EPA, Nassau Metals Corp. has agreed to complete a $25 million cleanup of the 25-acre Superfund site in Schuylkill County. Nassau Metals has already spent $11 million on the ongoing cleanup at the site, a former scrap wire processing facility. The consent decree requires the company to complete the EPA-approved cleanup plan, at an estimated additional cost of up to $14 million. Under the agreement, Nassau Metals may be partially reimbursed up to $4 million collected in prior settlements with more than 60 generators of smaller amounts of waste found at the site.

From 1966 to 1977, the now-bankrupt Eastern Diversified Metals Corp. (EDM) dumped approximately 350 million pounds of stripped wire insulation material – commonly called fluff – in an open pile covering an area of 250 by 1,500 feet, and rising to a height of 40 feet. Fluff contains hazardous materials including lead, plastics, polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) and dioxin, compounds.

The EDM site has been the focus of state and federal environmental enforcement and cleanup actions since the early 1970s, when Pennsylvania cited EDM for failing to cover the fluff pile. In March 1974, the state ordered the company to install a wastewater treatment plant and take other steps to prevent surface and groundwater contamination.

EPA and state investigations in the early 1980s found several hazardous substances at the site, including lead, copper, zinc, manganese, dioxin, polychlorinated naphthalenes (PCNs), PCBs, and volatile organic compounds (VOCs). In October 1989, EPA formally added the EDM site to the Superfund list of the nation’s most contaminated sites.

Under the Superfund law, the landowners, waste generators and waste transporters that are responsible for the contamination of a Superfund site must clean up the site, or reimburse
EPA or other parties for cleanup activities. EPA named Nassau Metals as a potentially
responsible party for the cleanup of the EDM Superfund Site because the New York-based company contributed a significant amount of scrap insulated wire processed by EDM.

EPA approved the final cleanup plan in November 2001, after an extensive review of, technical and environmental studies, sampling data, legal requirements and public comment.

The cleanup involves isolating the contaminants in the fluff pile under a multi-layered impermeable cap. The fluff will be graded into a smooth mound and covered by clay and thick plastic liners, which will prevent water from infiltrating the fluff. A drainage layer will be installed over both liners to divert water off the cap and into drainage ditches.

The cap will be completed with a cover of two feet of soil and thick grass vegetation. The remedial plan also requires monitoring landfill gas and installing a gas collection and treatment system, if needed; managing storm water runoff; ground water monitoring; and security controls.

The proposed consent decree commits Nassau Metals to fund and complete this cleanup.

Under existing policy, EPA could not justify the much greater cost of off-site disposal because it would not be any more protective of human health or the environment. Additional information on the Eastern Diversified Metals Superfund site is available at:

As part of the settlement, Nassau Metals has not admitted liability for the EDM site cleanup. The proposed settlement is subject to a 30-day public comment period and final court approval.