EPA presents cleanup plan for quarry
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s preferred cleanup option for the Salford Quarry Superfund site in Lower Salford Township includes the implementation of an engineered cell to cover the quarry, according to Sharon Fang, a remedial project manager for the agency.
Fang said the contaminated soil and sediments, back loaded into the quarry, would be surrounded with several layers of clay, liners and fabric layers to prevent ground contamination. The work would include the removal of sediment from a 20-by-20-foot area along a proximate creek where evidence of distressed vegetation exists, Fang said Monday night at a public meeting to discuss the proposed cleanup plan of the defunct quarry at 610 Quarry Road.
The three-acre site — previously used as a shale quarry in the early 20th century as well as a waste disposal location as far back as 1948 — was purchased by the American Olean Tile Co. of Lansdale in 1963, according to information provided by the EPA.
It states the business, a subsidiary of the National Gypsum Co., purchased the site for waste disposal. The local tile company used the quarry to dispose of tile waste, sludge and sediment from their operations, according to the federal agency’s newsletter.
AOT also stored two, 10,000-gallon tanks in the quarry containing fuel oil and boron, a compound found in nature and most commonly used to make boric acid and some pesticides, according to archive articles.
The engineered cell — which will protect the site from groundwater and rainwater — was chosen because it will prevent exposure to site contaminants by human and ecological receptors as well as minimize the migration of contaminants to groundwater, according to a 54-page report posted at the EPA’s website. The report states that the cell would not require an intensive operation and maintenance effort to ensure functional integrity and it is expected to provide long-term effectiveness.
EPA engineers considered six cleanup options for the waste and soil and four for the sediments, according to Fang. She said one of those options included removing the contaminated materials from the
site, but that was cost prohibitive.
The preferred remedy would cost approximately $3.4 million, according to the report.
A trust set up by National Gypsum Co. will cover the projected expense, barring cost overruns during the design or construction phase, according to Fang.
She said the restorations could be completed in two years.
Groundwater and surface water monitoring will be performed to track the impact of the source control, according to the document. Ten monitoring wells around the quarry were drilled several years ago, according to Fang. She said the two wells closest to the quarry have been tested quarterly.
“The levels have remained constant over the years,” said Fang, adding that the other wells would be monitored once construction of the cell begins. One resident expressed a desire to remove the contaminated sediment from the quarry instead of completing the EPA’s proposal.
“I want to get that stuff out of here,” he said. “The other solution is just a BandAid.”
Residents can continue to provide their comments to the EPA during the project’s comment phase, which runs through Aug 31. To make a comment, contact Vance Evans, a community involvement coordinator, at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 215814-5526, or contact Fang at fang.sharon@ epa.gov or at 215-814-3018.
For more information, contact the U.S. EPA Region 3 at 1650 Arch St., Philadelphia, or at www.epa.gov.