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Chemical Wholesalers Agree to Clean Improperly Stored Wastes in Pottstown

Release Date: 7/17/2000
Contact Information: Ruth Wuenschel (215) 814-5540

Ruth Wuenschel, 215-814-5540

Pottstown, Pa. – The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and Nittany Warehouse, LP and Pyramid Chemical Sales Co. have signed an order requiring the two companies to perform an emergency cleanup of hazardous and flammable substances located throughout two warehouses here at the corner of High and Magneton Streets. The order, effective Friday, formalizes the continuance of the cleanup which is already underway with EPA oversight.

EPA emergency personnel inspected the warehouses on June 23 at the request of Pottstown officials and found an estimated 2,000 drums and containers, some labeled “flammable, corrosive or poison.” Many of the drums and containers were damaged, rusted or bulging, and appeared to have been stored that way for several years. Open bags of solid materials were also found spilling or leaking. In addition, the buildings were in poor condition, with a portion of the warehouse roof at 22 High Street in need of repair. All these hazards pose a risk to public health and the environment.

The order requires that the companies take immediate action to identify and properly dispose of all products that do not meet chemical manufacturing standards, and properly store containers according to their compatibility. Upon EPA approval, the owners/operators may then sell or recycle the remaining product.

The Montgomery County Community College, a daycare center, a motel and Borough Hall are located within a four-block radius of the buildings. Also potentially affected is the Manatawny Creek, which flows adjacent to both warehouses and empties into the Schuylkill River.

“EPA has used its emergency authority to protect residents from any environmental or health risks posed by the storage practices at these warehouses. Working closely with local officials, we will monitor compliance with our order to ensure that this threat is eliminated as soon as possible,” said Bradley M. Campbell, administrator for EPA’s mid-Atlantic region.

If the companies do not comply with the emergency order, the EPA may take over the cleanup and then seek reimbursement for cleanup costs, plus statutory penalties.