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Hazardous Waste Cleanup: Pennsylvania Transformer Technology (Formerly: McGraw-Edison Company) in Canonsburg, Pennsylvania

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On March 31, 2014, the facility entered into EPA’s One Cleanup Program which provides Pennsylvania facilities with corrective action obligations under Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) to complete federal corrective action and, concurrently, receive a liability release from Pennsylvania under Pennsylvania’s Land Recycling Program.

Cleanup Status

The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (PADEP) is pursuing the construction of a physical barrier (wall) at the stream’s edge to stop the migration of PCBs into Chartiers Creek.  Pennsylvania Transformer Technology, Inc. (PATT) wants to install larger diameter borings (wells) for pumping to try and capture the migrating oil/PCB to avoid having to install this wall.  This work is currently stalled as PATT is awaiting PADEP approval.

Discussions with PADEP indicated several maintenance issues, historical and recent releases, and remediation efforts that will have to be addressed. EPA met with PATT on October 10, 2008, and invited PADEP, but PADEP declined because they had a unilateral meeting with PATT on September 23, 2008.  At the meeting, EPA reiterated the Corrective Action issues and acknowledges they can all be answered pending PADEP approval of PATT’s work plans that have been submitted to address all of these concerns. Those approvals have still not been granted to date.

EPA will continue to try to work with PADEP and review information as it is received and determine if further activities are required to protect human health and the environment.  The majority of Corrective Action activities at this facility have been conducted through the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection Consent Order & Agreements and through the delegated portions of RCRA or the Environmental Cleanup Program.  EPA Region 3 will determine if any additional Corrective Action under RCRA is necessary.

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Site Description

Interactive map of Pennsylvania Transformer Technology (Formerly: McGraw-Edison Company), Canonsburg, PA

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PATT is located approximately one mile northeast of Canonsburg in Washington County, Pennsylvania along Chartiers Creek. This facility occupies 92 acres and consists of several industrial buildings that were constructed in the early 1900's.  The original owner of the site was the Defense Plant Corporation, who manufactured warheads at the site for an unknown time period before 1947.  In 1947, the property was purchased by Pennsylvania Transformer, who manufactured large power transformers and switch gears.  In 1963, Pennsylvania Transformer merged with Lines Products to form McGraw-Edison, who also operated as an electrical transformer manufacturing/ reconditioning center.  In 1985, Cooper Power Systems bought the site from McGraw-Edison and continued to manufacture switchgear and transformers.  In 1996, PATT purchased the Facility from Cooper and began operations in 1997.  Current hazardous wastes generated at the facility are limited to paint related waste and parts cleaning solutions.

PATT finalized a Consent Order & Agreement (CO&A) on April 14, 2005,  with PADEP to address maintenance issues with the existing pump and treat systems; subsurface lithology identification; further groundwater, surface water, and sediment sampling; and issues relating to the stormwater and sewer piping. 

PATT initiated a site characterization program initiated on April 12. 2005, to delineate the plume associated with the "Guard House Seep".  This seep has been the source of polychlorinated biphenol (PCB) contaminated oils entering into Chartiers creek. The investigation of the Guardhouse seep has yielded significant information and the opportunity to recover contamination entering Chartiers Creek.  Several groundwater monitoring wells were drilled to intercept fracture networks identified during GPR (ground penetrating radar) and VLF (very low frequency) geophysical surveys.  A significant volume of oil contaminated with PCBs and volatile organic compounds (VOCs) was encountered in more than one of the wells. 

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Contaminants at this Facility

Groundwater at the facility is contaminated with PCBs, VOCs, oil, and grease.  Contaminated groundwater is recovered and treated under a CO&A with PADEP.  The groundwater treatment system consists of two groundwater collection systems (one in the southwestern and one in the northern portion of the Facility combined) and another system to treat contaminated storm water. All treated water is discharged to Chartiers Creek through two permitted outfalls that are sampled on a regular basis.

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Institutional and Engineering Controls at this Facility

The need for Institutional Controls is yet to be determined. 

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Land Reuse Information at this Facility

The site is under continued use.

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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 with assistance from PADEP.

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