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Hazardous Waste Cleanup: Versum Materials LLC (Formerly: Air Products and Chemicals Incorporated), Tamaqua, Pennsylvania

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    Cleanup Status

    Groundwater Monitoring Reports continue to show an overall decreasing trend in chlorinated compound concentrations since initiating monitoring. Based upon the groundwater sampling, the plume is contracting, the source mass is reducing, and the migrating concentrations appear to be being attenuated.

    Cleanup Background

    In November, 1992, Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (PADEP) issued a RCRA operating permit to Air Products and Chemicals Incorporated (APCI). EPA issued a permit for Corrective Action in December 1997.

    APCI discovered that tetrachloroethene (PCE) tanks and a cooling unit containing PCE had leaked and, in 1994, removed contaminated soil. They also discovered that some of the PCE had entered the groundwater. Other soil and groundwater contamination exists at the site but does not have an identifiable source and is most likely due to inadequate care when using solvents. Air Products monitors the groundwater for chloroethane (CE), 1, 1-dichloroethene (1,1-DCE), tetrachloroethene (PCE), TCE), 1,1,1-trichloroethane (TCA), cis-1,2-dichloroethene (cis-1,2-DCE), trans-1,2-dichloroethene (trans-1,2-DCE), and vinyl chloride (VC).

    Groundwater flow in this area is primarily through fractured bedrock into east-west channels. The solvents form plumes in the groundwater that are stretched in the east-west direction following these fractures in the bedrock. Because the contamination is in fractured bedrock it is very difficult to remove. The Corrective Action Permit allowed APCI to sample the groundwater for 2 years to show whether or not the contaminants in the groundwater are naturally degrading.

    Between January 1998 and January 2000,  APCI conducted 8 quarters of groundwater sampling to determine if the groundwater contamination is decomposing due to natural attenuation. APCI submitted a final report during 2000. EPA worked with APCI to determine if the solvents in the groundwater are naturally attenuating, to modify the existing sampling plan and, to determine which further steps are necessary. Based on discussions with EPA during a Fall 2002 meeting, APCI submitted a proposed revised monitoring plan in Spring, 2003.

    EPA approved the revised monitoring plan on October 22, 2003, which was a revision to the RCRA Corrective Action Permit. This modification reduced the groundwater sampling from the semi-annual schedule to a once-per five quarter schedule. EPA determined that this reduction was warranted based on the declining levels of constituents of concern. There was no change to the required monitoring parameters.

    Within one mile of APCI are drinking water wells in the fractured bedrock. No contamination from APCI has been found in these wells.

    On June 1, 2007, Air Products and Chemicals, Inc. (APCI) submitted a formal request for renewal of its Corrective Action Permit at the current terms which has since expired on December 1, 2007. After reviewing this request as well as other options available to allow APCI to fulfill its Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) Corrective Action requirements, discussions have led to EPA and APCI agreeing to APCI fulfilling its Corrective Action requirements under the Facility Lead Agreement (FLA). EPA sent a letter on November 13, 2007, inviting APCI to participate in the FLA by responding with a Letter of Commitment. EPA is in receipt of APCI's Letter of Commitment as of December 14, 2007. EPA considers this letter the commitment by APCI to perform the requirements set forth in the FLA at the APCI facility.

    On February 14 2008, EPA established the Corrective Action Remedy for APCI was "Complete with Controls". 

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    Site Description

    Interactive Map of Versam Materials LLC, Tamaqua, Pennsylvania

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    Air Products and Chemicals, Inc. is located in Hometown, Schuylkill County, Pennsylvania and consists of 393 contiguous acres of which 60 are the industrial site and the rest are fields, wooded, or a wildlife refuge. Since 1972, APCI has manufactured fluorine gas and fluorine compounds as well as conducted transfilling, purification, and distribution of specialty gasses.

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    Contaminants at this Facility

    Air Products monitors the groundwater for chloroethane (CE), 1, 1-dichloroethene (1,1-DCE), tetrachloroethene (PCE), TCE), 1,1,1-trichloroethane (TCA), cis-1,2-dichloroethene (cis-1,2-DCE), trans-1,2-dichloroethene (trans-1,2-DCE), and vinyl chloride (VC).

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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

      Engineering Controls have been established for the entire facility to monitor groundwater for chlorinated compounds.

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      Land Reuse Information at this Facility

      The facility 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.

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