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Hazardous Waste Cleanup: SBD Property Holdings (Formerly: Baldwin Hardware Corporation) in Reading, Pennsylvania

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Cleanup Status

A Final Remedy was determined in 1987 and construction completed on the groundwater pump and treat system in 1988. Additional contamination was found in both groundwater and potential vapor intrusion under the buildings. The on-site groundwater is not used as a source of drinking water.  A new Final Remedy was chosen August 24, 2017 which incorporates an upgraded groundwater pump and treat system as well as soil vapor mitigation control systems.  This new Remedy Decision is found in the Final Decision and Response to Comments.

In 1984, groundwater contamination was found via the groundwater monitoring well network approved by Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Resources (PADER) for closure of the surface impoundments. In 1987, EPA issued an Administrative Order on Consent [3008(h) Order] to the facility for groundwater remediation. A groundwater remediation system was installed in 1988. Contaminated groundwater was pumped by three recovery wells at a rate of 300 gallons per minute, and was treated by an air stripper, which removed the organic contaminants. Some of the treated groundwater was used as non-contact cooling water in the manufacturing plant and is discharged under a National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit to a tributary of the Schuylkill River. Excess treated groundwater was pumped to a wet-well that discharges under the NPDES permit.

During environmental sampling prior to a property sale, Baldwin found additional groundwater contamination which extended beyond the influence of the pump and treat system. The contamination did not go off-site. In addition, soil contamination under the buildings was found that potentially could cause a vapor intrusion exposure. EPA has determined this contamination is from leaks in the solvent sumps and degreasers in the affected buildings.

A new Final Decision was chosen by EPA in August 2017, which requires modifications to the groundwater pump and treat system to expand the capture zone. With these modifications, an updated piping and treatment system was installed which is expected to be more efficient and automatic. Construction on the new system was completed in 2016 and the system is currently operating. Monitoring of the effectiveness of the system will continue into the future.

EPA also required a Soil Vapor Mitigation System (SVMS) to be installed under the buildings to alleviate potential vapor intrusion exposures. The system pulls vapor from the soils under the buildings, sending it through activated carbon treatment to remove any organic contaminants. The system is in place and currently operating. Continued monitoring of the system is required into the future.  The building floors act as "caps" to eliminate exposure to contaminated soil beneath.

EPA is requiring that groundwater is not used for potable purposes, and that the land be used for industrial/commercial purposes only.

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Site Description

Interactive Map of SBD Property Holdings, Reading, Pennsylvania

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The Baldwin Hardware Corporation was primarily involved in the manufacturing of solid brass mortise locks, forged materials and bathroom and desk accessories. Historically, plant operations included electroplating, polishing and lacquer clear coating.

Baldwin acknowledged groundwater contamination at their facility. The main constituents of the contamination are halogenated hydrocarbons, primarily trichloroethylene and its associated degradation products. The groundwater contamination is a result of the past usage of two unlined surface impoundments, in which electroplating wastewater treatment sludge were stored. The two surface impoundments have been excavated, backfilled, certified closed and built upon (construction ended in 1987). The work took place under the regulatory supervision of the PADER (predecessor to Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (PADEP)), Southeast Regional Office.

Baldwin Hardware sold the property in 2012 to SBD who then sold the property in July 2015, to TMAP Realty, LLC.

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Contaminants at this Facility

The main constituents of the contamination are halogenated hydrocarbons, primarily trichloroethylene and its associated degradation products.

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Institutional and Engineering Controls at this Facility

    Institutional /Engineering Control Summary
    Restrictions or Controls that Address: Yes No
    Groundwater Use
    Residential Use
    Vapor Intrusion
    Capped Area(s)
    Other Engineering Controls
    Other Restrictions

      The engineering controls for the facility require that there be quarterly groundwater monitoring to confirm that the pump and treat system is operational and effective in keeping the contamination on-site.  In addition, the SVMS has monitoring requirements to confirm effectiveness in mitigating potential vapor intrusion exposures.  The floor of the buildings act as a "cap" to eliminate exposure to contaminated soils beneath.

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      Land Reuse Information at this Facility

       The site is being reused.

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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.

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