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Hazardous Waste Cleanup: Ephrata Manufacturing Company in Ephrata, Pennsylvania

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In March 2011, Ephrate National Bank (ENB - current site owner) elected to remediate the Facility pursuant to the Pennsylvania Land Recycling and Environmental Remediation Standards Act (Act 2) Program and submitted a Notice of Intent to Remediate (NIR). The Facility also enrolled in the One Cleanup Program under which Pennsylvania facilities with Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) corrective action obligations may complete federal corrective action and, concurrently receive a liability release from Pennsylvania Department of the Environment (PADEP) under Act 2.

Cleanup Status

An extensive review of both EPA and the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (PADEP) files was conducted as well as tow site visits  on December 18, 2008, and March 24, 2009.  A Final Environmental Indicator Inspection Report for the Ephrata Manufacturing Company (EMCO) facility was submitted on April 27, 2009.  Results of the meetings and report have led the current owner, Ephrata National Bank, to seek assistance under the EPA Brownfields Program due to their desire to sell the property to the Borough of Ephrata which has plans to subdivide the property for multiple re-use scenarios.  On December 8, 2009, a Phase I Environmental Site Assessment was submitted under the Brownfields Grants Program by ePhase Inc. The recommendations include further soil and groundwater sampling to determine the extent of impacts.

The "Current Human Exposures Under Control" Environmental Indicators (EI) was completed on May 5, 2009.  The EI has status codes of “Yes, Under Control.” 

In August 2013, EPA has determined that corrective action is now complete with controls at the Facility. EPA’s remedy is to require the maintenance of the asphalt caps over Areas of Concern (AOCs One and Two) and compliance with land use restrictions to minimize the potential for human exposure to hazardous constituents that remain in Facility soils. The site is restricted to non-residential use under the existing Environmental Covenant.

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Site Description

Interactive Map of Ephrata Manufacturing Company, Ephrata, Pennsylvania

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The EMCO facility operated from 1922 to July 31, 2006 primarily manufacturing iron castings.  The process involved pouring of molten metal into sand molds.  As such, the facility produced approximately 12,000 tons per year of non-hazardous foundry sand. In addition to the foundry sands, the facility also produced hazardous wastes including sludge, flyash, and wastewater, containing heavy metals from air-pollution controls.  From 1975 through 1982, the wastewater and flyash were disposed in a natural depression (pit) on site.  Samples collected from this pit were found to contain toxic levels of lead, mercury and cadmium.  As a result in 1982, the PADEP ordered the facility to cease all discharges and develop a closure plan for the pit.  The facility started recycling the wastewater and dewatering the flyash for offsite disposal.  The pit and the foundry sand and slag pile were closed initially in 1989 and completed in 1991.

EMCO was the sole owner and operator of the plant from 1922 to 2006.  The facility closed in July 2006 and the equipment was auctioned.  Prior to 1922, the ownership of the property is unknown.  On November 11, 2004, EMCO mortgaged the facility to Ephrata National Bank and on December 12, 2006, sold the property to the bank.  The current owner, Ephrata National Bank, plans to sell the property to the Borough of Ephrata. The property underwent a Phase I and Phase II Environmental Assessment and a Phase II soil investigation in support of transfer of property. 

EMCO occupied a 3.71 acre parcel in Ephrata, Pennsylvania.  The rectangular shaped parcel is orientated in a northeast to southwest direction.  The property is generally flat with paved areas around the buildings.  Two groundwater springs were located northeast of the property in 1989.  The northeastern edge of the property was noted to be steeply sloped towards the neighboring residential property, which is at a lower elevation.  The western/northwestern edge of the property slopes towards the neighboring property belonging to the Borough of Ephrata.

On November 11, 2004, the Ephrata Manufacturing Company mortgaged the Facility to Ephrata National Bank (ENB). Following the end of operations in July 2006, the Facility was acquired by ENB on December 12, 2006. ENB is the current owner.

Two buildings, an office and a production building were located on the property in 1989.  The office was a small building approximately 900 square feet in size and is located near the southeast corner of the property.  The production building or plant was approximately one acre in size and it was irregularly shaped.  The southwest portion of the building was utilized for warehousing while the central portion contained the furnaces used in the facility’s foundry operation.  A sludge collection room occupied the northeast portion of the plant.  Within the sludge collection room was a venturi scrubber, a sludge separator, and two (2) two-cubic yard sludge collection tubs.  Immediately outside of the sludge collection room was a sludge storage area which had a macadam surface. 

In the far northeastern corner was an unlined former sludge disposal pit and foundry sand disposal area.  The pit was approximately 16 feet in diameter and 13 feet deep.  Foundry sand and slag had been used as fill, covering an 180,000-square foot area.  In 1989, the fill was mounded at an eight to ten percent slope to an elevation of 20 feet.  This pile was subsequently graded and the area capped with clay as part of its closure.  The surface of the clay-covered area was paved at a later date, presumably in 1990.  Subsequently, an exposed portion of foundry sand discovered during a site inspection was covered, thereby completing the closure process in 1991.

Currently, access to the facility is the driveway off of Pine Street.  The buildings are present, although most of the salvageable equipment was sold, according to the bank representative.  Within the production building, in a room adjoining the former furnace, the venturi scrubber, sludge separators, and sludge collection tubs are no longer present; although signs of the former equipment are visible.  Remnants and portions of equipment associated with the former cupola furnace are visible in the furnace room.  The outside area north of the building where the former disposal pit and foundry sand/slag disposal area existed in 1989, is entirely paved and generally flat.  A stormwater catch basin is present in the northwestern corner of the paved area, and reported to have been constructed recently.  The northern portion of the property is surrounded by a chain-link fence.  An additional section of the fence surrounds a portion of the northern slope of the property where some of the foundry sands had been deposited. 

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Contaminants at this Facility

Contaminants of concern are heavy metals.

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Institutional and Engineering Controls at this Facility

The Institutional Controls enforced via an environmental covenant are the restriction of the site to non-residential use and the maintenance of asphalt caps.

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Land Reuse Information at this Facility

The site is being reused.

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Site Responsibility at this Facility

RCRA Corrective Action activities at this facility have been conducted under the direction of EPA Region 3.

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