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Materials Shipped from former Metachem Site

Release Date: 7/15/2004
Contact Information: David Sternberg, (215) 814-5548

David Sternberg, (215) 814-5548

PHILADELPHIA - The U.S. EPA announced today that materials from the former Metachem plant in Delaware City, Del. are once again being returned to commerce through a facility in Mexico.

EPA is coordinating shipments of dichlorobenzene from Delaware to Mexico directly with the receiving facility, a manufacturer of chlorinated benzene chemicals. The dichlorobenzene will then be further processed, as needed, and sold in an established market. The materials shipped from Delaware are routinely used by the receiving facility which manufactures dichlorobenzene products.

After reviewing information related to transportation and manufacture of these materials in Mexico and working directly with the facility, Mexican environmental and health authorities have allowed the shipments to resume. Shipments of these materials began in December 2003 after EPA visited the facility and conducted initial coordination activities. The shipments were suspended in January 2004 while agencies, authorities, and the public evaluated some key issues related to this beneficial use of Metachem’s former products and feedstock. The shipments have now begun again after Mexican authorities completed their review and the facility confirmed its request for the materials.

The governments of the U.S. and Mexico have determined that although chlorinated benzene compounds are potentially hazardous, these chemicals are not a threat to human health and the environment when properly handled and transported.

Metachem abandoned the Delaware City plant on May 14, 2002. Since that time, EPA and the Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control (DNREC) have conducted extensive stabilization and decontamination activities at the facility.