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Hazardous Waste Cleanup: MAX Environmental Technologies Incorporated (Formerly: Mill Service Incorporated) in Yukon, 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 January 2001, EPA determined that both the Human Exposures and Groundwater Environmental Indicators have been met at the MAX Yukon facility.

The Facility, owned by MAX Environmental Technologies Inc. (formerly Mill Service), has operated under Consent Orders, Solid Waste Permits, and Hazardous Waste Permits issued by PADEP (formerly the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Resources).  The orders and permits directed the disposal operations, unit closures, environmental investigations, and environmental remediation at the Facility.

Past remediation at the Facility includes:

  • Impoundments 1, 2, and 3 – The disposal impoundments were closed with waste remaining in place in the late 1970’s with a compacted soil caps.  In the mid-1980’s, PADEP determined that the caps were not effectively containing contaminants from the waste material.  Under the direction of PADEP, MAX reclosed the impoundments by regrading with residual waste, then installing a low-permeable cap to seal off precipitation infiltration.  These actions effectively remediated the Redstone Coal groundwater flow zone.
  • Impoundments 4:  Impoundment 4 was clean-closed in 1989 by excavating all accumulated waste material, PVC liner, dyke walls, and two feet (minimum) of subsoils.  All the excavated material was deposited into Impoundment 5 prior to closure of that impoundment.  
  • Impoundment 5: Impoundment 5 was closed with waste remaining in place in 1990 with a multi-layer cap.  Due to cap subsidence over time, it was reclosed in 2002 by regraded with a residual waste layer and installing a RCRA cap.
  • Groundwater Remediation: The pump and treat groundwater remediation system, which has operating for over 25 years, has removed impacted groundwater from the Pittsburgh Coal flow zone.  Accumulated coal mine water is withdrawn from pumping wells and conveyed to the on-site wastewater treatment plant.  Only one of three pumping wells, PW-1, still produces enough water to pump.  A time-trend analysis of groundwater over time (2007 through 2017) shows that water quality in the Pittsburgh Coal zone continues to improve over time.

EPA issued a Corrective Action Statement of Basis (SB) and draft Corrective Action Permit on August 17, 2020. The SB described the environmental conditions at the site and asked for public comments on EPA's tentative decision.  The tentative decision includes:

  • Continued compliance with the operating and post-closure care requirements of the PADEP Hazardous Waste Permit and PADEP Solid Waste Permit; and
  • Additional monitoring of residential water supply wells adjacent to the active disposal area. 

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Site Description

Interactive Map of MAX Environmental Technologies, Incorporated (Mill Service Inc),Yukon PA

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MAX Yukon is a treatment and disposal facility for hazardous and residual waste.  It began operations in 1964 in the location of a former strip mine.  Waste management units at the Facility include five (5) closed impoundments, an active landfill, waste storage tanks and containers, waste treatment tanks, and a leachate management-wastewater treatment system.  

The Facility initially accepted acids and other inorganic wastes from the steel and glass manufacturing, electroplating, and other industries.  The wastes were treated with lime to neutralize the acids and immobilize metals.  The treated slurry was then placed in disposal impoundments.  Historically, the largest volume wastes processed and disposed at the Facility were K061 (electric arc furnace dust) and K062 (spent pickle liquor). Since the 1990’s, the wastes received at the facility for treatment and disposal are primarily solids; including slag, electric arc furnace dust, metal-impacted soils, and drill cuttings from the oil and gas industry.

Disposal Area 6, also known as Landfill 6, is an active residual waste landfill unit opened in 1988.  It covers approximately 16.5 acres, and operates under PADEP Solid Waste Permit No. 301071.  It is constructed with a double liner, a leachate collection system, and a leak detection system.  The Solid Waste Permit requires the disposal area to be capped within one year of final waste placement.

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Contaminants at this Facility

Groundwater data shows sporadic exceedances of Pennsylvania Statewide Health Standard Medium Specific Concentrations (MSC) in groundwater for fluoride and several metals; including barium, cadmium, lead, and manganese.  Domestic well water showed no exceedances MSCs, although the water samples are not analyzed for all contaminants related to the disposal areas.  The tentative decision described in the Statement of Basis would expand the domestic well water analysis to include all constituents related to the disposal units.

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Institutional and Engineering Controls at this Facility

The requirements of the PADEP permits restrict the Facility to operation and maintenance activities prescribed under the permits.  The permits require maintenance of the disposal area caps to prevent exposure to contamination.

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Land Reuse Information at this Facility

Permitted disposal, maintenance and monitoring activities are the only site activities.

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Site Responsibility at this Facility

Investigation and remediation activities at this Facility have been conducted under the direction of PADEP.

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