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EPA To Hold Public Meeting on Bally Cleanup Plan

Release Date: 03/20/2007
Contact Information: David Sternberg, (215) 814-5548

PHILADELPHIA (March 20, 2007) - The U.S. EPA will hold a public meeting about its proposed plan to address 1,4-dioxane contamination in the Bally public water system in Bally, Berks County, Pa. The public meeting will be held on Thursday, March 22, from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. at the Bally Firehouse, 537 Chestnut Street.

EPA is recommending that a new municipal supply well be installed in an area that is not contaminated. Another, but less favored, option considered providing additional treatment at the current municipal supply well to reduce 1,4-dioxane in the existing water supply to levels that would not pose a risk to human health. EPA considers 1,4-dioxane to be a probable human carcinogen.

Primarily used as an industrial solvent,1,4-dioxane is a clear liquid that dissolves in water at all concentrations. The groundwater contamination is believed to be the result of past operations at the former Bally Engineered Structures (BES) manufacturing plant that operated in Bally from the 1930s to 1995. BES manufactured urethane-insulated panels for refrigeration equipment. EPA believes the groundwater contamination came from the release of hazardous substances from former BES lagoons or tank systems.

The Bally Groundwater Superfund Site consists of an area of groundwater contamination in and around the former Bally Engineered Structures (BES) plant in Bally. In 1982, the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Resources discovered organic solvent contamination in Bally Municipal Well number 3 and the well was taken out of service shortly thereafter. In 1989 an air stripper treatment system was constructed to remove contamination, and the well was returned to use. In February 2003, 1,4-dioxane was found in low concentrations in the Bally municipal water system. 1,4-dioxane cannot be removed by the existing treatment system.