The Alliance For A Clean Environment
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History of the OxyChem Property

  • 1942: The federal Defense Plant Corporation (DPC) bought the site from Jacobs Aircraft Engine Company which continued to manufacture aircraft engines there until late 1944
  • 1942-1985: Manufacturers dumped wastes, including cutting oils, metal filings, tires, and PVC sludge resins into a 17-acre landfill
  • 1945-1961: DPC leased the site to Firestone Tire and Rubber which began to manufacture plastics on the site in 1947. The company bought the site from the government in 1950. A major expansion of the plant was completed in 1953 followed by another one in 1961 for the making of "dispersion resins"
  • 1974: Two lagoons were constructed to receive the PVC sludge overflow from the plant wastewater treatment system
  • 1976: Federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) conducted a study which lead to Polyvinyl monomers (the main raw material used at OxyChem) being declared a carcinogen
  • 1977: Firestone requested permission from the PA Department of Environmental Resources (currently the DEP) to expand the 17-acre landfill. The state agreed, provided groundwater from beneath the site would be continuously pumped out to prevent contamination from moving off-site.
  • 1980: Firestone sold the plant to OxyChem which continues to manufacture PVC at the site
  • 1985: OxyChem closed the landfill, with state approval, covering it with a rubber cap and two feet of soil
  • 1988: June 4, the EPA proposed adding the site to the National Priorities List
  • 1989: September 29, the site was formally added to the list, making it eligible for Superfund cleanup funds
  • 1990: September 25, PVC sludge was put on EPA's hazardous substance list
  • 1993: Oxychem completed the study of contamination at the site. That summer, EPA selected a remedy for the site clean-up which focused on groundwater and unlined lagoons; OSHA conducted a comprehensive inspection of the site
  • 1994: June, EPA issued an order calling for remediation design and action on the site
  • 1995: The two lined lagoons built in 1974 were closed
  • 1997: July, PA Department of Environmental Protection approved a closure plan for a 7-acre landfill on the site; August, design of the groundwater remedy is completed
  • 1998: Construction of ground water remedy began; final cap was finished on the 7-acre landfill
  • Today: The EPA is evaluating potential alternatives for the lagoon material

More on History of OxyChem

Firestone - 1945 until 1980 - Produced PVC and tires

  • 267 Acre Property
  • Firestone disposed its waste on about 23 acres of its property
    17 acre landfill, 6 acre landfill, 4 unlined lagoons, 2 lined lagoons
    PVC waste & sludge, tires, rubber, pigments went into landfill
1980 purchased by Occidental Chemical.
  • July, 1984 - TCE was spilled, contaminating soil and wells.
Site is located in 100 year floodplain of the Schuylkill River.
  • which has flooded the bottom of landfill areas on the site several times.
  • Occidental is bordered on 3 sides by the river which is used for fishing and swimming. The lagoons and the landfill lie about 300 feet from the Schuylkill.
2 municipal water supply systems are located within 3 miles of the site.
  • One of the supply wells is located only three miles downstream of the site and is one of four wells which supply Spring City and Royersford with water.
In 1990 almost 7,000 people used private wells, the closest 1,100 feet.

1989 - Occidental was listed on EPAís national priorities list to clean up - (Declared Superfund).
  • Detected in on-site monitoring wells, and sediment - heavy metals, vinyl chloride, TCE, arsenic, and chromium.
  • On-site process wells were also contaminated with vinyl chloride, trans 1,2 dichloroethene, and TCE.
  • Two aquifers underlie the site. Contamination of the deeper bedrock aquifer is confirmed. Contamination was believed to be from the landfills and lagoons on the site and VOCís spilled on the ground over time. However, no air monitoring was done by Supervened assessment.
Contamination ws believed to be from the landfills and lagoons on the site and VOC's spilled on the ground over time.

The site was considered a potential public health concern. Exposure was feared to result in adverse health effects through inhalation, dermal contact, and ingestion. Exposures to water, sediment, soil, and air are of concern. Unfortunately, the local community did not become involved with this issue.

P.O. Box 3063
Stowe, PA 19464

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