Pennsylvania DEP to Hold Public Meeting on Contaminated Scrap Yard

Public hearing will take place Oct. 8, 2013, in Berks County.

September 25, 2013
Recycling Today Staff
Legislation & Regulations

The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection will hold a public meeting and hearing on Oct. 8, 2013, to outline its plan to complete the remediation at the former Reading Industrial Scrap Yard in Berks County, Pa. A formal hearing will follow.

The meeting will be held at the DEP’s Reading office in meeting will be held at DEP’s Reading District Office, 1005 Crossroads Blvd.

“This combined meeting and hearing provide an opportunity for the public to ask questions and voice any concerns about our proposed cleanup plan,” says DEP South-central Regional Director Lynn Langer. “The Hazardous Sites Cleanup Act (HSCA) authorizes DEP to take action and create a plan to return this site to a sound environmental state.”

From 1980 to 2000, Reading Industrial Scrap Inc. operated a salvage yard at the site where they scrap metal was processed. Beginning in 2001, new ownership initiated a cleanup of 400 drums of unknown material stored at the scrap yard. Some of the material was disposed at permitted disposal facilities, but during the process about 200 drums of waste were buried onsite in large pits. Vehicle batteries, paint cans, car engines, scrap metal and a car crusher were also reportedly buried at the scrap yard.

The PA DEP and the Pennsylvania Attorney General began an investigation in the summer of 2002, which resulted in the discovery of the 200 drums that had been illegally buried. A Consent Order and Agreement between the DEP and the owner resulted in the removal and proper disposal of 4,582 tons of waste. During the investigation, samples of material taken from a pit excavation revealed hazardous levels of lead and silver.

According to a release, the DEP initiated a prompt response to secure the scrap yard to protect public health and safety in the summer of 2004. A security fence was constructed around the site and 2,000 tons of contaminated soil and 50 cubic yards of crushed drummed waste containing polychlorinated biphenyl, a chemical commonly used as a coolant fluid, were removed and disposed.

In the spring of 2008, DEP initiated an investigation to identify and delineate the remaining wastes and soil contamination. The sample results showed lead contaminated soils. Groundwater sampling was also conducted, but only minor contamination was detected.  

DEP’s proposed plan to treat the remaining lead contamination is to excavate the contaminated soils, re-locate the soils to a deep pit in the scrap yard, and then cap the material with two feet of clean soil to eliminate pathways for contact with contaminated soil.

Those who wish to present testimony on the project can register by calling Dave Hrobuchak at 717-705-4843 or by registering the night of the hearing.

For anyone unable to attend, written comments should be submitted by Dec. 5 to Dave Hrobuchak, DEP South-central Regional Office, 909 Elmerton Ave., Harrisburg, PA 17110.

The administrative record for this site response will be open for review and comment until Dec. 5.