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Hazardous Waste Cleanup: Ferro Corporation in Washington, Pennsylvania

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Cleanup Status

The Corrective Action Final Decision of  Complete with Controls became effective on May 26, 2016, after a 30-day public comment period. Controls include a land use restriction prohibiting residential-style use, sampling and disposal requirements for any future intrusive operations on most of the facility, and maintenance requirements for the cover over the former settling ponds. These controls are anticipated to be incorporated into an environmental covenant to be recorded with the county by the end of 2016.

In June 2004, an Environmental Indicator (EI) inspection was performed at the facility, which included a review of documentation on previous site investigations and a site visit. Historically, high levels of metals—particularly lead, cadmium, and chromium—have been the contaminants of concern at the site. Several soil removals due to lead and cadmium exceedances occurred in the 1990s and 2000s as part of building expansion projects. Since 2004, levels of dissolved metal contaminants in groundwater have been below levels of concern at the facility. On November 10, 2009, EPA determined that both environmental indicators were met at the facility.

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Site Description

Interactive Map of Ferro Corporation, Washington, Pennsylvania

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The Ferro facility is located on a 12-acre triangular piece of land in Canton Township, Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania. The facility was purchased in 1946 by Drakenfeld and Company, who produced glass enamels, glass oxides, and clayware colors. These products have remained the primary focus of the facility ever since. Powder pigments are currently sold to the plastics and vinyl siding industries, pastes are sold to the automotive and architectural industries for glass decorations, and "Drakotherms" are also produced. These consist of solids at room temperature that are used to decorate bottles and glassware, liquid precious metals that are used to decorate fine china, and organic products (solids, liquids or pastes) that are used in a variety of applications. In 1966, Hercules, Inc. of Wilmington, Delaware, purchased Drakenfeld Company, and all Drakenfeld operations were consolidated at the West Wylie Avenue facility. The company was later bought by Ciba-Geigy Corporation in 1979 and filed the initial Notification of Hazardous Waste Activity to USEPA in August 1980 under this name. In 1993, Drakenfeld and the Ceramic Colors and Special Products Division of Degussa were incorporated as a joint venture firm with Cerdec Corporation Drakenfeld Products as the U.S. subsidiary of Cerdec AG with worldwide headquarters in Frankfurt, Germany. The facility submitted another revised Notification of Hazardous Waste Activity to EPA in October 2000 to reflect a change in name and ownership (in 1999) to DMC2 Degussa Metals Catalysts Cerdec Corporation. The facility changed its name to Ferro Glass and Color Corporation when Ferro Corporation (Ferro) purchased DMC2 in September 2001. Currently, the Washington, PA facility is an international manufacturer and distributor of glass coatings, frits, ceramic stains, and pigments for the glass, ceramic, paint, plastic and coating industries. It produces approximately 11,000,000 pounds per year of product.

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Contaminants at this Facility

Primary contaminants at the facility include heavy metals, particularly lead, cadmium, and chromium that were used in paint pigments. Soil and groundwater are contaminated with these metals; however, several removals of contaminated soil have reduced the likelihood of exposure to contaminated soil, and dissolved concentrations of heavy metals in groundwater have consistently been below levels of concern.

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Institutional and Engineering Controls at this Facility

The following controls are part of the remedy and are planned to be codified in an environmental covenant:

  • Prohibition of residential-style land use
  • Requirements for sampling and disposal of any contaminated soil during any future intrusive operations throughout most of the facility
  • Annual inspection and maintenance of the cover over the former settling ponds

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Land Reuse Information at this Facility

Ferro Glass continues to use the facility to produce glass coatings and pigments for the glass, ceramic, paint, plastic, and coating industries.

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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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