An official website of the United States government.

This is not the current EPA website. To navigate to the current EPA website, please go to This website is historical material reflecting the EPA website as it existed on January 19, 2021. This website is no longer updated and links to external websites and some internal pages may not work. More information »

Hazardous Waste Cleanup: Western Berks Community Landfill & Recycling Center in Birdsboro, Pennsylvania

On this page:

Cleanup Status

In April 2003 , EPA determined, with the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (PADEP) input, that both the Human Exposures and Groundwater Environmental Indicators have been met.  

The facility has completed the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) corrective action requirements and a Statement of Basis has been completed and a public notice has been issued by EPA.  The Agency has determined, based on available information, that there are no unaddressed releases of hazardous waste or hazardous constituents from the facility. On September 30, 2013, the EPA issued a Final Corrective Action Determination that Corrective Actions are complete with controls.  The Remedy Decision included:

  • Operation and maintenance of groundwater monitoring system as required by PADEP Solid Waste Permit No. 100739.
  • Maintenance of landfill caps as required by PADEP Solid Waste Permit No. 100739
  • Operation and maintenance of the leachate collection system as required by PADEP Solid Waste Permit No. 100739
  • Compliance with and maintenance of land use restrictions to prohibit residential use of the Facility by protecting the integrity and functionality of: all landfill caps, the gas collection systems, the leachate detection/collection and treatment/removal systems, and the groundwater monitoring wells as required by PADEP Solid Waste Permit No. 100739

Cleanup Background

The Western Berks Community Landfill and Recycling Center facility operates as a permitted, active Municipal Waste Landfill.  As such, current and future access is restricted to required operation and maintenance activity.  The facility is fenced to prevent unauthorized access.  Current and future groundwater use is restricted to monitoring and maintenance activities

PADEP routinely inspects the facility for compliance with its permit requirements (Solid Waste Permit No. 100739).   Groundwater is monitored as part of the Facility-wide monitoring required under the State Permit.  There are currently 18 groundwater monitoring wells; one background well and 17 perimeter wells.  With the construction of the Eastern Expansion (current fill site), only one private off-site well is available to be sampled.  The sampling schedule is prescribed by the State Permit.  Wells are monitored on a quarterly, semi-annual, or annual schedule, based on the specific needs of the Site that each well is monitoring.

A leachate collection system collects the leachate that is generated from the disposal areas.  Leachate from the hazardous waste cell is collected and trucked off-site for treatment. Leachate from the non-hazardous cells is treated at an on-site plant located at the southern perimeter of the Facility property adjacent to the Schuylkill.  It operates under NPDES Permit PA 0054852, issued by PADEP.  The treated water is discharged to the Schuylkill.

Groundwater monitoring will continue under the State Permit and through the required post-closure period. 

Top of Page

Site Description

Interactive map of Western Berks Community Landfill & Recycling Center, Birdsboro, PA

View larger map

The Western Berks Refuse Authority landfill is located approximately 13 miles southeast of Reading, PA.  The property includes over 200 acres and seven disposal sites; including five filled sites, one active site, and one future site.  Past disposal included municipal waste, residual waste, and hazardous waste. It currently accepts only municipal waste.  The Schuylkill River surrounds the property on three sides: south, east and west.  

Top of Page

Contaminants at this Facility

Groundwater beneath the facility was contaminated with heavy metals and organic compounds.  Groundwater quality has improved over time as disposal areas have been capped to prevent infiltration of water through the waste.  Current groundwater monitoring results show no exceedances of drinking water standards (Maximum Contaminant Levels) for any of the contaminants on-site.

Top of Page

Institutional and Engineering Controls at this Facility

Institutional Controls include groundwater restrictions and monitoring, maintenance of landfill caps and leachate collection system, and restriction of land use for residential purposes.

Top of Page

Land Reuse Information at this Facility

The facility is under continued use.

Top of Page

Site Responsibility at this Facility

RCRA Corrective Action activities at this facility have been conducted under the direction of PA DEP with Assistance from EPA Region 3.

Top of Page