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Hazardous Waste Cleanup: Vorteq Coil Finishers (Formerly: Wismarq Industries, Prior Coated Metals) in Allentown, Pennsylvania

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Cleanup Status

During the last quarter of 2013 and the first quarter of 2014, Prior Coated Metals has been characterizing the soil and groundwater at their site. The primary objective of the site characterization activities was to further assess the presence and extent of impacted media associated with several identified Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) Solid Waste Management Units (SWMUs), including the Paint Storage Room and Spent Solvent/Paint Cartridge Area and exterior area to the plant east of that location. These activities were performed to support release of liability under Act 2 and to satisfy RCRA Corrective Action obligations under the "One Cleanup" Program.

In September 2016, EPA finalized the Corrective Action remedy which consists of the following components:
1) Establishing a Technical Impracticability Boundary for groundwater
2) Groundwater monitoring and reporting of Contaminants of Concern (COCs) to insure the constituent levels remain stable (or decrease) and the small contaminant plume remains within its current boundaries 
3) Compliance with the Environmental Covenant which was recorded on the title to the Facility Property with the Lehigh County Recorder of Deeds on February 19, 2016 (see Attachments 8-9 ).



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Site Description

Interactive Map of  Vorteq Coil Finisher (Wismarq Industries), Allentown, Pennsylvania

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Site processes include cleaning, painting, and heating cold-rolled galvanized coils of metal. The Facility houses a 390-foot long process line (in operation since 1962) that is generally comprised of the following components: cleaning/oil removal, chromic acid rinse, paint spray tower, ovens, and metal specification cutting. A drainage system located beneath the cleaning and chrome rinse lines empties into a concrete-lined sump that discharges wastewater to an on-site wastewater treatment plant (WWTP).

The on-site WWTP, which is used for pre-treatment of wastes generated by the process line, has been on-line since November 1986. Prior to 1986, process-related wastewater was discharged directly to Allentown City’s sewer system under a permit issued by the City in February 1976. Semi-annual monitoring of effluent began in 1981. Exeedances of the permitted parameters, in particular chromium (detected at concentrations up to 1,200 parts per billion [ppb]), were identified on several occasions in the wastewater effluent.

Process wastes generated by the plant include wastewater that flows to a transfer pump and is pumped into chrome reduction tanks. Sodium metabisulfite and ferrous sulfate are added to enhance the chrome-reduction process. The water is pumped into a waste holding tank to control pH levels, followed by pumping into a precipitation tank at which point lime is added to aid in the settling of chromium hydroxide sludge. The sludge is pumped to a filter press where it is de-watered. The resulting filter cake is stored in a plastic-lined, roll-off sludge and removed off-site by Envirite Corporation.

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Contaminants at this Facility

Contaminants of primary concern are  Volatile Organic Compounds  in the groundwater that include: 1, 1, 1-trichloroethane (TCA),
1,1-dichloroethene (DCE), 1,2,4-TMB, 1,3,5-TMB, benzene, cis-1,2-DCE, tetrachloroethene (PCE), toluene, and trichloroethane (TCE).

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Institutional and Engineering Controls at this Facility

Institutiutional Controls consist of the following:

  • The Facility property shall be restricted to use as non-residential property, as defined by the Pennsylvania Land Recycling and Environmental Remediation Standards Act, 35 P.S. § 6026.103. 
  • Groundwater from beneath the Facility property shall not be used for drinking water and commercial agricultural use(s), including, but not limited to, irrigation of crops, watering of livestock, and food production, processing, or packaging without appropriate treatment and/or approval provided by the Pennslyvania Department of Environment (PADEP) and EPA.
  •  Any excavation or other intrusive activity that could result in contact with contaminated groundwater or soil within the extent of area of impact is prohibited unless supported by a site-specific health and safety plan approved by PADEP and/or EPA.

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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 with assistance from Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection.

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