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Hazardous Waste Cleanup: INDSPEC Chemical Corporation (Formerly: Koppers) in Petrolia, Pennsylvania

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Cleanup Status

The remedy for the Beazer/INDSPEC facility has been finalized and consists of the implementation of land and groundwater use restrictions and the establishment of a Post-Remediation Care Plan that outlines procedures to follow during intrusive operations within any impacted areas, inspection and maintenance requirements for caps over contaminated areas, maintaining fencing or surveillance to restrict facility access, monitoring requirements for vapor mitigation strategies within occupied buildings in a specified impacted area, and monitoring plans for groundwater and surface water. Further details can be found in the Final Decision and Response to Comments linked in the “Additional Site Information” box, below.

Cleanup Background

Environmental investigations of the facility began in 1980 and were continued in accordance with consent orders with PADEP in 1987 and 2003. The 2003 consent order established, among other things, the sixty-square-mile Bear Creek Area Chemical Site (BCACS), which includes the facility, and required the construction of a public water supply for the area due to concerns of contamination in private drinking water wells in the area. The public water supply was completed in 2007 and provides potable water to residents and others who may be potentially affected by groundwater contamination from the facility and other facilities and disposal sites in the BCACS.

An interim measure consisting of a sediment cap along a 430-foot stretch of the South Branch of Bear Creek was constructed in 2011. The cap, primarily composed of bentonite and other low-permeability materials, inhibited the migration of a free-phase material consisting primarily of site-specific contaminants (resorcinol and sulfonic acids) from groundwater beneath the facility to the creek. The cap was damaged in August 2013 due to excessive flooding from a major storm event. As a result, an improved cap (including a flexible membrane liner, woven geotextile protective fabric, and significant armoring) was installed over the same 430-foot stretch of the creek in 2016 and continues to perform as designed in preventing the discharge of free-phase material to the creek along the length of the cap.

A revised Remedial Investigation Report (RIR) was submitted in June 2013 under Pennsylvania’s Act 2 Program. In February 2017, a RIR Addendum was submitted that, along with a separate Risk Assessment Report submitted in March 2017, addressed deficiencies and action items identified by PADEP in their January 2014 Recommended Additional Work for Completion of the June 2013 Remedial Investigation Report. EPA approved the 2013 RIR and the 2017 RIR Addendum in August 2017 and issued a Statement of Basis (see the “Additional Site Information” box, below) proposing the selected remedy.

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Site Description

Interactive map of Indspec Chemical Corporation (Formerly: Koppers), Petrolia, PA

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The facility is located in Petrolia Borough, Butler County, Pennsylvania. The facility is comprised of two attached tracts of land, Tract 1 and Tract 2. Tract 1 is an unimproved parcel of approximately 56 acres owned by Beazer. Tract 2, owned by INDSPEC, occupies approximately 263 acres. Due to this ownership status, the facility has also been referred to as the “Beazer/INDSPEC Properties”. Tract 2 includes the INDSPEC Chemical Corporation plant, the site of a resorcinol manufacturing operation. Resorcinol is a chemical used primarily as an adhesive to bond rubber to steel belts/cords in the manufacturing of tires and is also used in the pharmaceutical industry. The previous owner/operator of the facility was the Koppers Company, Inc., which was subsequently purchased by Beazer East, Inc. Manufacturing operations started on the property in approximately 1929 and concluded in July 2017, when INDDPEC ceased operations at the facility.

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Contaminants at this Facility

Primary contaminants at the facility include resorcinol, sulfonic acids, benzene, and lead. Soil, groundwater, and surface water are the primary media impacted by the contaminants. Elevated levels of volatile contaminants in soil gas beneath an active area of the facility to the west of the creek suggest that vapor intrusion into the indoor air of buildings in the vicinity could be a complete exposure pathway; therefore, vapor mitigation systems are planned for installation in any occupied buildings in this area. The only other potential exposure pathway to facility contamination is through surface water since groundwater is not used as a potable water source in the area and areas of soil contamination are covered by pavement or other physical barriers. Several ecological studies of the south branch of Bear Creek spanning the facility have suggested that contaminants from the facility do not appear to have a significant impact on aquatic health, but have also recognized that upstream impacts to the stream may confound results.

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Institutional and Engineering Controls at this Facility

Institutional controls for the facility include restricting groundwater and land use, preventing excavation within the footprint of the former lagoon, and requiring a vapor intrusion assessment prior to construction of any occupied buildings within the main plant area. Engineering controls include the continued inspection and maintenance of the caps throughout the facility (former lagoon vegetative cap, an asphalt cap in the southeastern portion of the main plant area, and the area of capped sediment within the South Branch of Bear Creek), development of a soil management plan and work procedures for any intrusive operations throughout the facility, and ongoing inspections of the creek for any free-phase material.

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Land Reuse Information at this Facility

In July 2017 production ceased at the facility, which currently remains unused.

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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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