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Hazardous Waste Cleanup: Lehighton Electronics Incorporated in Lehighton, Pennsylvania

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Cleanup Status

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.  In August 1999, EPA determined that both the Human Exposure and Groundwater Environmental Indicators had been met.

Investigations in the 1990’s showed the groundwater was contaminated with trichloroethylene (TCE) above the EPA drinking water standard.  EPA issued a Final Decision for required corrective action in April 2002.  The Final Decision required continued remediation and monitoring the contaminated groundwater, removal a former TCE storage tank and a fuel oil tank, and the installation of a potable water supply treatment system that meets EPA drinking water standards. 

The tanks and related contaminated soil were removed in 2006.  The groundwater remediation pump and treat system has operated since 1994 but has not achieved EPA drinking water standards in the groundwater. 

In 2019, Lehighton implemented additional measures to improve the groundwater quality.  Approximately 97 cubic yards of contaminated soil from beneath the building foundation were excavated and disposed offsite.  Additional groundwater wells were also installed.

In September 2020, EPA issued a fina Explanation of Significant Differences (ESD) that modifies the 2002 Corrective Action Final Decision.  The ESD details additional remediation measures taken by Lehighton and requiring additional environmental investigation, additional remediation if warranted by the results of the additional investigation, and land and groundwater use restrictions if contaminant concentrations remain above levels that pose an unacceptable risk to human health and the environment. 

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Site Description

Interactive map of Lehighton Electronics Incorporated, Lehighton, PA

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The Lehighton facility manufactured printed circuit boards at this 0.6-acre location from 1965 until 2001, when operation ceased.  It is located about four miles southwest of Lehighton on a one-half acre lot in a sparsely populated area.  Materials handled at the site include various metals and organic compounds.  Trichloroethylene (TCE) was used as a solvent prior to 1980.  1-1-1-Trichloroethane was used after 1980. 

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Contaminants at this Facility

Groundwater concentrations of TCE are highest north and west of the original manufacturing building.  The wells are located near the downgradient (northern) property boundary, adjacent to State Route 443/Blakeslee Boulevard Drive West. Groundwater from the Facility flows toward Mahoning Creek, approximately 500 feet north of the Facility.  Groundwater concentrations of TCE range from non-detect to 278 ug/l, compared to the drinking water standard of 5.0 ug/l.  Annual monitoring of a nearby residential well shows no contamination.

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Institutional and Engineering Controls at this Facility

Land and groundwater use restrictions shall be implemented if contamination remains above levels protective of human health and the environment after the proposed additional remediation is implemented.

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Land Reuse Information at this Facility

The facility has been vacant since 2001.

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Site Responsibility at this Facility

Lehighton was accepted into the EPA/PADEP One Cleanup program to complete federal corrective action obligations and, concurrently, receive a liability release from Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (PADEP) under Act 2.  PADEP is the lead agency under Act 2, and EPA is responsible for oversight of RCRA corrective action issues. 

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