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Hazardous Waste Cleanup: Sonneborn Incorporated in Petrolia, Pennsylvania

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Cleanup Status

EPA and the PADEP have reviewed available information and have determined that both human exposures to contamination and migration of contaminated groundwater are under control at the Sonneborn facility. The revised Cleanup Plan outlining the selected remedy of manual light non-aqueous phase liquid recovery from the groundwater table within an approximately 1300-square foot area and an environmental covenant implementing activity and use limitations (see Institutional Controls section, below) was submitted in December 2018 and approved by PADEP in March 2019. A revised Remedial Investigation and Risk Assessment report was submitted in September 2017 and approved by PADEP in December 2017.

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Site Description

Interactive map of Sonneborn Incorporated, Petrolia PA

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Constructed in approximately 1885, the facility’s current products include white oils, petrolatums and microcrystalline waxes.  The facility is located on Route 268 in Fairview Township, adjacent to the Borough of Petrolia in Butler County, Pennsylvania.  Approximately 250 acres in size, the facility lies along the South Branch of Bear Creek.

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Contaminants at this Facility

 This facility is part of the area known as the Bear Creek Area Chemical Sites (BCACS), where primarily site-specific contaminants (sulfonic acids, but also resorcinol from a nearby facility) have impacted groundwater, which has been prohibited to be used as a drinking water source in several boroughs and two counties in the area.  Areas with contamination above levels of concern in the affected zone have been provided access to a public water system for potable use.

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Institutional and Engineering Controls at this Facility

Institutional controls anticipated at this facility include prohibiting residential-type development and potable groundwater use, and a construction and excavation management plan to prevent exposure to contaminated vapors or waste materials left in place.

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Land Reuse Information at this Facility

Sonneborn continues to manufacture white oils, petrolatums, and microcrystalline waxes at the facility.

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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 PADEP.

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