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Order Signed to Complete Cleanup at Marjol

Release Date: 07/13/2006
Contact Information: Bonnie Smith, 215-814-5543 & Joan Schafer, 215-814-5143

PHILADELPHIA - The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency today announced that Gould Electronics, Inc. has signed a consent order with EPA and the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (PADEP) to complete the cleanup of lead contamination and other chemicals from the Marjol Battery and Equipment Company site in Throop, Lackawanna County, Pa. The Marjol site has been stabilized to prevent releases of contaminants since 1992.

    “The order is an important milestone in a nearly 20-year cleanup process. It includes
    all the activities required to close and maintain the Marjol Battery property, while protecting
    human health and the environment," said Donald S. Welsh, regional administrator for the EPA's mid-Atlantic office.

    The order requires Gould to design and construct a permanent cleanup remedy for the site.

    "DEP believes that this is the best alternative to provide long term monitoring of the Marjol site while ensuring that it poses no threat to residents or the environment," said Environmental Protection Northeast Regional Director Michael Bedrin.

    The first step in implementing the order will require Gould Electronics to conduct a boring investigation that will further evaluate the coal seams beneath the site. EPA and PADEP will use this study to determine the potential mine-fire hazard for the site.

    The additional investigation was recommended by the EPA National Ombudsman in his May 2004 review of the final remedy for the Marjol site. This review was prompted by concerns raised by residents regarding possible mine fire and subsidence hazards at the site.

    Before Gould Electronics Inc. proceeds with the design of the final remedy, the new data from this mine fire investigation will be evaluated to determine whether any modifications are warranted.

    In addition to conducting further potential mine-fire hazard studies, the order announced today also includes: designing the cleanup remedy, constructing the remedy, long-term monitoring and maintenance, and financial assurance for all work.

    The Final Remedy selected by EPA is required to guarantee permanent containment, including a cap and treated layer for added protection.

    The former Marjol Battery and Equipment Company conducted lead battery crushing and reclamation at the 44-acre site from 1963-1981. Gould Electronics Inc. bought the facility in May 1980, and shut down the plant less than two years later. Emissions from plant operations caused lead contamination of the soils and surface waters near the plant, including nearby residential areas and the Lackawanna River.

    A 1990 EPA-PADEP consent order required Gould to conduct an investigation and a study at the site to identify the nature and extent of on-site and off-site contamination and to propose permanent alternatives for long term remediation of the site. Prior cleanup actions by Gould include the cleanup of 133 residential and commercial properties adjacent to the site, and the stabilization of the site to prevent releases of contamination from the site.

    The EPA consent order was issued pursuant to the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act, (RCRA) a federal law governing the treatment, storage, and disposal of hazardous waste. RCRA is designed to protect public health and the environment, and avoid costly cleanups, by requiring the safe, environmentally sound storage and disposal of hazardous waste. The consent order was also issued pursuant to Pennsylvania's Clean Streams Law, Solid Waste Management Act and Hazardous Sites Cleanup Act.

    For more information about the Marjol site cleanup, visit