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Pa. Historical and Museum Commission Settle PCB Violations - Railroad Museum to Complete EPA-Approved Cleanup

Release Date: 6/23/2004
Contact Information: Bonnie Smith, 215-814-5543

Bonnie Smith, 215-814-5543

PHILADELPHIA – The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has announced that the state commission that runs the Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania in Strasburg, Pa., has settled a case involving leaks of polychlorinated biphenyl (PCB) fluid from a historic locomotive at the museum.

In a consent agreement with EPA, the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission has agreed to pay a $28,836 penalty to settle alleged violations of federal regulations on the storage and disposal of PCBs and PCB-containing equipment. The commission has committed to cleanup and dispose of PCBs and PCB-containing equipment at the museum.

PCBs, a probable human carcinogen, were once widely used as a nonflammable coolant for transformers and other electrical equipment. In 1976, Congress enacted the Toxic Substances Control Act, which strictly regulated the manufacture, use and disposal of PCBs. For information on the health effects, regulations, and cleanup of PCBs, visit

On March 14, 2002, Pennsylvania officials notified EPA about the discovery of PCB transformers on four locomotives at the museum, and a leak of PCB fluid from one such transformer. Museum officials also informed EPA of PCB-contaminated soil at the museum.

In consultation with EPA, the commission developed a plan for the cleanup of the PCB leak, the soil contamination, and the disposal of PCB-containing transformers at the museum. Under this plan, which EPA approved on September 15, 2003, the commission developed specifications for PCB cleanup and transformer disposal, and has remediated the PCB-contaminated soil. Soil and transformer removal and disposal have been completed. The remaining portions of the cleanup are scheduled to be completed by September 2005.

As part of the settlement of this matter, the commission has neither admitted nor denied liability for the alleged violations. EPA will continue to work with the Pennsylvania officials until the completion of the cleanup.