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Clean-up Study to Begin at DelCo Superfund Site

Release Date: 11/27/2006
Contact Information: Bonnie Smith, 215-814-5543

PHILADELPHIA - The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency today announced it has entered into an agreement with 14 private parties who as a group will investigate pollution and study cleanup options for the Folcroft Landfill in Delaware County, Pa. The landfill, located within the John Heinz National Wildlife Refuge, is part of the larger Lower Darby Creek Area Superfund site.

“We’re pleased with this agreement since it’s the first time that private parties will conduct a superfund investigation on federal lands under EPA’s oversight,” said Donald S. Welsh, EPA mid-Atlantic regional administrator. “The refuge is a unique ecosystem and this agreement signals progress toward restoring an area that will have important use to wildlife.”

Field work is expected to begin in early December, and will include collecting soil samples and installing groundwater wells. Earlier sampling has identified metals and solvents in groundwater.

“The Fish and Wildlife Service is pleased that work is proceeding. Once remediated, these 62 acres will be a valuable addition to the Refuge’s upland habitat,” said Kate McManus, manager of the John Heinz National Wildlife Refuge.

EPA conducted a thorough search for responsible parties and extensive negotiations leading up to this agreement. Under the Superfund law, potentially responsible parties – those parties EPA identifies who have owned or operated the site, or those who have generated or transported waste to the site – are responsible for the cleanup.

The study, which is called a remedial investigation and feasibility study (RI/FS) will define the type and extent of the contamination and list possible cleanup alternatives to protect Darby Creek, and the Refuge – the only freshwater tidal wetland in Pennsylvania.

The potentially responsible parties will perform the investigatory work with EPA oversight and in cooperation with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

The potentially responsible parties participating in this agreement to perform the RI/FS are: The Boeing Company; Browning - Ferris Industries, Inc.; Conoco Inc.; Delaware County Solid Waste Authority; E.I. duPont Nemours and Company; FMC Corporation; General Electric Company; Wilbur C. Henderson Jr.; Henderson-Columbia Corporation; Kimberly-Clark Corporation; M.A. Bruder and Sons Inc.; PECO Energy Company; PRG Industries Inc.; Rohm and Haas Company; and, Waste Management, Inc.

The Lower Darby Creek Area Superfund Site consists of the now-closed Clearview and Folcroft landfills. Both landfills are located along Darby Creek near the Philadelphia Airport. EPA is currently conducting an RI/FS at the Clearview Landfill.

Both landfills operated from the 1950s through the 1970s for disposal of municipal, hospital, and industrial wastes directly into the marshland.

In 1980, the U.S. Congress mandated that the Fish and Wildlife Service purchase the Folcroft landfill in order to protect what is now the John Heinz National Wildlife Refuge.