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EPA, DNREC Plan to Restart Separation Project at Metachem

Release Date: 3/4/2004
Contact Information: David Sternberg, (215) 814-5548

David Sternberg, (215) 814-5548

DELAWARE CITY, Del. - The EPA/DNREC cleanup team at the Metachem site has begun preparations to restart of the chlorinated benzene removal and separation project (CR/SP). The project separates chlorinated benzene mixtures into liquid and solid portions for easier management, storage and disposal.

This project was operated successfully from July through October 2003, but was shut down for the winter. Although more than 70 percent of the material was separated last year, approximately 650,000 gallons of mixed chlorinated benzene materials remain. The separation uses a limited part of Metachem’s distillation capacity.

EPA estimates that the process will be able to solidify more than 50 percent of the material, thereby reducing the potential for a spill.

The materials with higher boiling points, including tetracholrobenzene materials, which will contain PCBs and other contaminants, will be poured into high-density plastic containers, or totes, where they will solidify. More than 2500 totes of this material were generated last year. The material inside the totes is solid and has not leaked. EPA estimates approximately 2000 more totes will be generated when the project resumes.

Preparations for restarting the CR/SP are underway and include testing equipment and installing new piping. EPA estimates that the project can be started sometime in May, and is expected to run for two months.