Jan 19, 2012

DEP to Hold Public Meeting, Hearing to Discuss Cleaning Up Berkley Products Plant Site

Investigations determined that groundwater contamination was passing beneath adjacent residences and discharging to surface water.

The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) will hold a public meeting and hearing to outline its plan to clean up a former paint fabricating facility in Akron, Lancaster County.

“DEP would like to provide an opportunity for interested residents and companies to ask questions and voice any concerns at this meeting and hearing,” South-central Regional Director Rachel Diamond said. “The Hazardous Sites Cleanup Act (HSCA) authorizes DEP to take action and create a plan to address issues at this site and return it to a sound environmental state.”

In 1955, Berkley started producing customized and manufactured coatings at the Akron facility. During most of its operation, solvents were used as drying agents in the coatings and for cleaning the manufacturing equipment. In 1980, Berkley applied to become a hazardous waste treatment and storage facility. By then, Berkley was blending waste for cement kiln fuel and consolidating waste for shipment to various disposal facilities. Berkley ceased operation as a hazardous waste storage and treatment facility in December 1990.

From January 2003 to June 2004, DEP conducted groundwater, surface water, soil vapor and indoor air investigations at the site. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency also conducted groundwater, soil gas, sub-slab vapor and indoor air investigations in February and March 2005. The investigations determined that groundwater contamination was passing beneath adjacent residences and discharging to surface water. DEP detected 29 volatile organic compounds in the groundwater at high levels. Among the contaminants were solvents commonly used in paint manufacturing and metal degreasing, which DEP determined were all released from the site.

In 2006, DEP installed vapor mitigation systems on 11 residences threatened by vapor intrusion from the migrating groundwater contamination plume, and they have satisfactorily mitigated the vapor intrusion threat. The agency also conducted further investigation to fully characterize soil and groundwater contamination to determine if additional response action was necessary to protect human health and the environment. DEP has proposed a response to address the releases at the Berkley Products site by removing the contaminated soil and treating the contaminated groundwater.

As required under HSCA, the administrative record will be open for review and comment until March 16, 2012.