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Hazardous Waste Cleanup: Col-Fin Specialty Steel in Fallston, Pennsylvania

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Cleanup Status

Col-Fin Specialty Steel has completed the environmental cleanup at their Fallston, Pennsylvania facility. The following paragraphs describe the releases that occurred at the Col-Fin Specialty Steel facility as well as the corrective measures taken by the facility to remediate the releases.

On June 25, 1987, a valve on the acid storage tank leaked approximately 150 gallons of sulfuric acid. Of this amount, 50 gallons was retrieved in buckets, and approximately 100 gallons was released to a concrete pad surrounding the tank. The drain in the concrete pad funneled the majority of this release to the waste water treatment plant for treatment before being discharged to the river via outfall 001. An unknown amount of this spilled acid, however, overflowed the concrete pad and was released to the surrounding area. Lime was used to neutralize the spill in this area. The leaking tank was repaired, then later replaced in April, 1992. Secondary containment was constructed around the new tank to prevent any future release of acid to the surrounding area.

On February 29, 1988, 2B roll oil spilled from a blown oil seal and malfunctioning valve in the annealing department and got mixed with system cooling water. Most of this cooling water was recirculated through the system, however a small amount containing some oil from the leaky seal was bled off and drained to the Beaver River. A total of approximately five to ten gallons of 2B roll oil was estimated to have drained to the river. Pumps were immediately stopped and the system was reengineered to a closed loop so that water would no longer be discharged from the system to the river. The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (PADEP) was notified of the release and the discharge was boomed to soak up any remaining oil.

On May 23, 1990, a valve to flush the acid lines with water was left open, causing approximately 9000 gallons of dilute sulfuric acid to overflow both the crystallizer tank and the acid recovery tank. Some of this overflow was directed to a drain leading to a sump pit for treatment, however, not all of the overflow was contained and some of the spill flowed across the driveway into a storm sewer which was believed to discharge to the Beaver River. The concentration of acid in the release at the beginning of the spill was determined to be 3.1%, and was diluted further as the spill continued. PADEP was notified of the incident, and a secondary containment dike was constructed in the area to prevent the potential for recurrence of similar spills in the future. On May 14, 1998, approximately 75 gallons of sewage spilled into the Beaver River from a sewage pipeline crossing the Fallston Bridge en route to the municipal sewer lines from the Col-Fin facility. This sewage pipeline was part of a new sewage plan that had been implemented by the facility in 1996, however the plan had not considered thermal expansion of the pipeline in its design. Extreme temperatures caused the pipe to crack and release sewage to the Beaver River. Two expansion joints were installed along the pipeline crossing the bridge to resolve the situation.

After performing a facility inspection, and an evaluation of past remediation practices, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) believes that no further corrective action is necessary at the Col-Fin Specialty Steel Corporation facility at this time.

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Site Description

Interactive map of Col-Fin Specialty Steel, Fallston, PA

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The Col-Fin Specialty Steel Corporation consists of approximately 5.5 acres located on the west bank of the Beaver River in the Borough of Fallston, Beaver County, Pennsylvania. Operations at this facility began in the 1920's with the manufacturing of wire products by Textron, Inc., the former owner of the facility. Col-Fin acquired the property in 1983, and continues to operate as a cold finishing steel wire and bar mill today, manufacturing products that are used primarily by the tool industry ( such as Allen wrenches and hex keys). Some of the processes associated with this operation include annealing, pickling, drawing, straightening, and centerless grinding. Hazardous wastes generated from these processes include spent caustic permanganate, spent sulfuric acid pickle liquor and combustible oils. This waste is stored at the facility for less than ninety days before being shipped off-site for disposal. Rinsewater from the pickling process and sulfuric acid pickle liquor are recycled and reused on site.

EPA released a "Statement of Basis" for the Col-Fin Specialty Steel facility on February 24, 2000. The public was invited to comment on the proposal that no further action be required at the Col-Fin Specialty Steel facility during a public comment period which lasted forty-five calendar days from the date this matter was publicly noticed in the local newspaper ("The Beaver County Times" from February 24 to April 10, 2000). On April 10, 2000, EPA completed the public comment period, during which time EPA did not receive any comments on its proposal that no further corrective action is necessary at this time. Therefore, EPA has adopted the proposed decision as the final decision.

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Contaminants at this Facility

The threat of contamination to the environment at the Col-Fin Specialty Steel facility has been controlled.

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Institutional and Engineering Controls at this Facility

    Institutional Controls were not required at the site.

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    Land Reuse Information at this Facility

    The facility is under continued use.

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    Site Responsibility at this Facility

    Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) Corrective Action activities at this facility have been conducted under the direction of EPA Region 3.

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