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USA: Cleanup at North Penn Area 2 Superfund Site Eliminates Risks – Providing Long-Term Groundwater Protection

Nearly 1200 Cubic Yards of Trichloroethylene (TCE), Arsenic, Cadmium and Chromium contaminated soil and sediment was removed

PHILADELPHIA – The U.S. Environmental Agency has announced the completion of construction activities for the cleanup of the North Penn 2 Superfund Site in Hatfield, Montgomery County, Pa. The construction completion is an important milestone in protecting human health and the long-term goal of restoring contaminated groundwater to drinking water quality.
The soil, sediment and groundwater at the site were contaminated with trichloroethylene (TCE) and with metals including arsenic, cadmium and chromium. If left unchecked, contamination would have continued to pollute the groundwater, potentially exposing people and ecological receptors to harmful chemicals.

The North Penn Area 2 Superfund Site comprises 87 acres of the former Ametek facility. From 1963 to 1986, Ametek manufactured precision springs, reels, and measuring and controlling apparatus using TCE as a degreasing solvent. In 1986, the North Penn Water Authority detected TCE and other volatile organic compounds in on-site and off-site monitoring wells.


High chromium exposure leads to DNA damage in infants. Low birth weights, premature deliveries and impacts on the children's growth rates have all been attributed to links with chromium poisoning.(1)
Findmyrecycler.co.uk


Chronic inhalation or oral exposure of animals to cadmium results in effects on the kidney, liver, lung, bone, immune system, blood, and nervous system. (2)
epa.gov


Arsenic – Ingestion of large doses can result in effects in 30-60 minutes, with the main effect being gastrointestinal damage leading to decreased blood volume, lowered blood pressure and electrolyte imbalance. These effects may lead to multiple organ failure and death. (3)
environment-agency.gov.uk

Further investigations revealed that soil, sediment and groundwater contamination at the site presented a significant risk to both human health and the environment. In 1989, the EPA added the North Penn 2 site to the federal Superfund list.

Under EPA oversight, the former owner of the property, Ametek removed nearly 1,200 cubic yards of contaminated soil and sediment. As part of the cleanup Ametek also upgraded the existing pumping system, designed to collect and convey contaminated groundwater to a local treatment plant. All work done by Ametek was monitored by the EPA to ensure that the cleanup was done properly and safely. Under Superfund law, EPA will conduct a review of the cleanup every five years to ensure that the work done at the site remains protective of human health and the environment.


References

  1. 1. Findmyrecycler News 2012-01-02 Global e-waste dumping – Are you a contributor? Where does your waste end-up?

  2. 2. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency – Technology Transfer Network
    Air Toxics Web Site – Cadmium Compounds – http://www.epa.gov/ttnatw01/hlthef/cadmium.html

  3. 3. Environmental Agency – A review of the toxicity of arsenic
    in air – Science Report – SC020104/SR4 – http://cdn.environment-agency.gov.uk/scho0508bodr-e-e.pdf