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Hazardous Waste Cleanup: Keystone Color Works Incorporated in York, Pennsylvania

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Cleanup Status

EPA’s review of available information indicates that there are no unaddressed releases of hazardous waste or hazardous constituents from the Keystone Color Works, Inc. facility (KCW or Site).  EPA sets national goals to measure progress toward meeting the nation’s major environmental goals.  For Corrective Action, EPA evaluates two key environmental indicators for each facility: (1) current human exposures under control and (2) migration of contaminated groundwater under control.  EPA determined that the Site met both of the EI indicators on March 6, 2014.

The final remedy for the facility was completed and posted in a statement of basis on June 24, 2014,  and consists of institutional controls to restrict land use and groundwater use on a portion of the facility property.  EPA's proposed remedy for Facility soils consists of the inspection and maintenance of the existing concrete slab in the KCW Building. The concrete slab eliminates direct contact with contaminated soils and prevents migration of contamination. 

EPA's proposed remedy would allow some contaminants to remain in the soils directly beneath the concrete floor above levels appropriate for residential and non-residential (e.g., commercial, industrial) uses. Therefore, EPA proposes to establish activity and use restrictions for the Facility, in addition to inspection and maintenance requirements for the concrete slab through an enforceable control such as an order and/or an Environmental Covenant.

Cleanup Background

Between 2004 and 2012, a variety of surface and subsurface investigations were conducted at the Site.  Lead contamination was discovered in the surface and subsurface soils outside of the building footprint, in addition to the discovery of lead and arsenic contamination in the subsurface soils beneath the existing building concrete slab.  No contamination was discovered in the groundwater beneath the Site. 

Contaminated soil was excavated from along the western side of the KCW building to a depth of up to approximately two feet in the areas where exceedances of Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (PADEP’s) Residential Statewide Health Standards (SHSs) were detected.  Following soil excavation, post-excavation confirmatory soil sampling for lead was conducted and all post excavation sample results were below the applicable PADEP Residential SHSs.  Approximately 156 tons (104 cy) of contaminated soils were removed from the Site. 

With respect to the subsurface soils beneath the existing building concrete slab, excavation and removal of these soils is not considered to be practical without the demolition of the building and removal of the concrete floor slab.  Because the concrete floor slab has been a stable and competent barrier to prevent any direct contact exposures to soils below the floor slab, remediation of these soils has been accomplished through in-place containment and exposure pathway elimination.   

On October 14, 2013, a revised Remedial Investigation Report and Final Report for the NWT properties was submitted to the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (PADEP) for final review and approval. 

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Site Description

Interactive map of Keystone Color Works Incorporated, York, PA

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The Site is located at 151 West Gay Street and is comprised of two (2) adjoining parcels totaling 0.725 acres.  The building and/or former building components cover much of the property.  The eastern third of the property consists of a concrete pad that had been the floor for a section of the former building that was demolished in the 1990s.  The remainder of the property consists of narrow grassy strips of land located to the north and west of the building.  

The earliest known use of the property was in the manufacture of farm machinery from 1887 to 1908.  Keystone has produced organic and inorganic pulp pigments for the wallpaper and surface coating trades at the facility since 1919.  Hazardous substances, in the form of raw materials, finished product, and waste materials, have historically been stored throughout the building.  Until the 1980s, pigment production consisted of mixing raw materials in 300 and 3,000-gallon wooden tanks, collecting the resultant pigment solid, pressing it in filter presses to remove the water, and packaging the finished product.

KCW is enrolled in EPA’s One Cleanup Program, the Agency’s vision for how different cleanup programs at all levels of government can work together to meet that goal, and ensure that resources, activities, and results are effectively coordinated and communicated to the public.  It is a long term initiative designed to support the ongoing planning and quality improvement efforts of EPA cleanup programs.  Investigation and remediation of the Site is being primarily addressed in accordance with Pennsylvania’s Land Recycling and Environmental Remediation Standards Act (Act 2). 

KCW is part of a larger cleanup initiative referred to as the Northwest Triangle (NWT) which consists of a multi-block area of separate properties that cover 14.5 acres in the northwestern corner of the City of York.  The City of York Redevelopment Authority (RDA), a non-profit organization, is remediating, rehabilitating, and/or redeveloping these impacted and underutilized properties as part of the city’s revitalization activities.  The NWT area is generally bounded to the north and west by the Codorus Creek, and is bisected by various rail lines operated by York.

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Contaminants at this Facility

Some contamination remains in-place at the Site in the soils beneath the existing building concrete floor slab.  Lead and arsenic were detected in the soils beneath the concrete floor at concentrations above PADEP’s Residential SHSs.  However, exposure pathways to contaminated soils have been eliminated through in-place containment under the existing building concrete slab.

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Institutional and Engineering Controls at this Facility

Institutional controls include:

  •  Prohibiting any use that requires removal or disturbance ofthe concrete floor slab and exposure to the underlying soils.
  • All earth moving activities in the area outlined , including excavation, drilling and construction activities, shall be prohibited unless it is demonstrated to EPA that such activity will not pose a threat to human health or the environment.

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Land Reuse Information at this Facility

Plans for beneficial use of the NWT properties are under development, but are expected to consist of a mixture of residential, commercial, and potentially light industrial.

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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 with assistance from PA DEP.

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