The Alliance For A Clean Environment
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Why Get Involved?

Occidental’s Superfund Site
is considered a potential public health concern.
Nothing will be done to investigate your risk unless you get involved.

When Occidental was declared a Superfund site in 1989, people were unaware of the potential for health risks from this Superfund Site. Therefore they did not realize the potential for a connection between their health problems and the Oxy Superfund contamination so they did not get involved. This allowed our government to walk away without testing the air or off-site water and soil, or evaluating the health of people potentially exposed. ATSDR did not test or investigate off-site because people did not get involved.

Get involved now. Don’t let that happen again.
  • It is important for you, your family, and your neighbors to know what toxic contaminants you could be exposed to and what you can do about it.
  • Clean-up processes could affect your water, air, soil, and your health.
  • Groundwater and wells on Occidental’s site have been contaminated. There is the potential for off site contamination. In 1989 approximately 14,500 people obtained drinking water from public and private wells within 3 miles of the site (about 6,890 people used private wells). The nearest well was 1,100 feet west of the site. Current numbers are unknown.
      1. Water, soil, or private wells off-site have never been tested to our knowledge.
      2. 2 municipal water supply systems are located within 3 miles of the site. 1 of the supply wells is located only 2.7 miles downstream of the site and is one of 4 wells which supply Spring City and Royersford with water.
      3. Occdental’s site is as close as 300 feet from the Schuylkill River, bordered on 3 sides by the Schuylkill River, and in the 100 year flood plain of the Schuylkill River. This is an important reason to be aware of exactly what is going on during the clean-up of the Superfund site as well as Oxy’s current production.
      4. In 1993 EPA estimated it could take 100 years to restore water supply to drinking water quality. 2 aquifers underlie the site.
Chemicals found in contaminated groundwater and wells on Occidental’s site:
  • VOC’S, including TCE and Vinyl Chloride
  • Trichlorethene found in on-site sediment up to 18,000 ppb
  • TCE found from 190 to 1,500 ppb in on-site process wells (Acceptable TCE drinking water levels 5ppb)
  • Vinyl Chloride was detected at 420,000 ppb, on-site sediment
  • Vinyl Chloride was found in 1 on-site well at 11ppb (more than 5 times safe drinking water standards of 2ppb)
  • Xylene - Ethylbenzene - Styrene - 1,2 Dichloroethylene
Heavy Metals which contaminated wells on Occidental’s site:
  • Arsenic - Chromium - Manganese - Nickel
All the toxic contaminants listed above were found at Occidental’s Superfund site. Each could have a variety of harmful health effects if you are exposure to them through ingestion, inhalation, and dermal contact. Exposure to water, sediment, soil, and air are of concern.

On July 24, 1990, the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) for the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services made the following conclusions after their investigation of the Occidental Superfund site:

  • The Occidental Chemical Corporation site is considered to be of potential public health concern because humans may be exposed to hazardous substances at levels that may result in adverse health effects over time.
  • No indication exists, however, that exposure to contaminants found at the site is currently occurring.

    (This conclusion was made without testing water, soil, air, or people off site. If people would have been aware and become involved, off-site investigation and testing would have had to be done before making this, or any conclusion.)

  • Human exposure to organic compounds and heavy metals may occur in the future via ingestion or inhalation of, or dermal contact with contaminants in groundwater.
  • Exposure to contaminated sediment, soil, and air are of potential future concern.
  • In accordance with the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act of 1980 (CERCLA), as amended, the Occidental Chemical Corporation Site, Lower Pottsgrove Township, Montgomery County, Pennsylvania, has been evaluated for possible follow-up with respect to health effects studies.
  • Inasmuch as the information and data reviewed for this Preliminary Health Assessment contain no exact documentation or indication that human exposure to on- and off-site contaminants is currently occurring or has occurred in the past, this site is not being considered for follow-up health studies at this time.

    (No health study was considered because people in the community were unaware of the risks and did not know enough to suspect a link between the contamination and their illnesses. Therefore, they did not get involved. We can not allow this to happen again. It is time for everyone to get involved.)

  • However, if data becomes available suggesting that human exposure to significant levels of hazardous substances is currently occurring or has occurred in the past, ATSDR will reevaluate this site for any appropriate follow-up.

    (The Neighbor to Neighbor project may provide such information. Please get involved and try to get your neighbors involved to help.)

Statements in parentheses are ACE interpretations of ATSDR conclusions.

On July 24, 1990
To Protect Human Health From
The Occidental Superfund Site
The Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry
Made The Following

1. Sample on-site and off-site surface soil so that potential health effects related to this environmental medium can be adequately addressed.

ACE has not been able to locate any data that would show that OFF-SITE surface soil samples were done. If OFF-SITE soil samples were not taken this recommendation was ignored.

2. Sample the Schuylkill River and sediment to ensure that contaminants are not migrating via surface water run-off or groundwater discharge.

We need to find out if Schuylkill River and sediment samples for the Occidental Chemical Superfund chemicals were ever taken. If so when, and what were the results. If not, why not?

3. Continue to monitor the contaminant plume underlying the site to assess whether process well pumping is controlling the flow of contaminants sufficiently.

Is this being done by Occidental or independents?

4. Consider re-sampling the monitoring wells located in the shallow aquifer to make sure that this aquifer is not being degraded by site-related contaminants.

Has this resampling and monitoring of these wells ever been done by anyone other than Occidental and if so were the two ever compared?

5. Monitor private wells to check for contamination. Also, a contingency plan should be put into effect if the wells become contaminated.

ACE has not been able to identify any off-site private wells which are monitored for contamination. If you know of any, please notify ACE and help us to obtain copies of the reports.

Italicized information represents concerns and questions from ACE. Perhaps you can provide answers. Do you any have other concerns and questions concerning these ATSDR recommendations for the protection of your health from this Superfund site? If so, contact ACE at the address or website provided below:

P.O. Box 3063
Stowe, PA 19464

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