DEP Announces May 30 Public Hearing on Ford City, Penn. Equipment Site Cleanup

The Department of Environmental Protection will host a public meeting and hearing on Wednesday, May 30, to discuss and take testimony about the agency’s proposed response to mercury contamination at the former Ford City Equipment Site in Armstrong County, Penn. The cleanup work would be completed through the Hazardous Sites Cleanup Act (HSCA).

On Feb. 23, DEP inspectors found liquid mercury splattered on a concrete pad at the vacant Second Avenue lot, where a glass plant had been demolished that operated at the site before Ford City Equipment used it. The contaminated site, which is adjacent to a popular walking path and the Allegheny River, was unsecured and considered dangerous.

DEP staff made a preliminary assessment of the contamination; secured the site with the help of local police; and issued an order to the property owners to immediately begin safely removing the mercury and disposing of it at an approved waste site.

“Mercury is a dangerous contaminant, and our regional Waste staff responded quickly to the report of a possible spill,” DEP Southwest Regional Director Susan Malone said. “At the scene, they immediately took steps to limit the public’s exposure to mercury and ordered a cleanup.”

When the property owners failed to comply with the order, citing an ownership dispute, DEP began a prompt interim response. They called in a qualified remediation contractor to remove all visible liquid mercury and to dispose of it properly. They then coordinated air monitoring at the scene to ensure that no harmful vapors were being emitted, and they secured the site with a fence.

“Liquid mercury is very difficult to handle. If it’s spilled, even a small amount can break into hundreds of tiny specs,” Malone said. “If tracked indoors, it can get into flooring and carpet, where it gives off mercury vapor and can cause serious health problems.

“We had to act immediately to make sure that no one walked through the site and accidentally tracked mercury into their homes or other buildings.”

For long-term response to the incident, DEP proposes to clean up and remove the mercury for recycling or disposal, and remove for proper disposal soil and other material that the mercury may have impacted. The agency’s ongoing investigation will seek to determine the source of the spill.

During the meeting portion of the evening, HSCA staff will explain the proposed cleanup plan, followed by a question-and-answer session.

 


 

Download Center

  • Monitoring and Reporting on Air Emissions for Regulators and the Real World

    When it comes to managing compliance and regulatory issues surrounding air emissions, there are no easy jobs. With interviews from practitioners from American Electric Power, Red Cedar Gathering, Trinity Consultants, and Cority, this eBook provides practical advice to advance your air emissions monitoring and reporting programs.

  • What Every EHS Professional Should Know About ESG

    Join experts from Arcadis and Cority on April 27th to learn the most common ESG reporting frameworks and how technology can help you improve reporting efficiency, identify areas for improvement, and create defensible audit trails.

  • Green Quadrant EHS Software 2021

    Read the new report by independent analyst firm, Verdantix, to get an unbiased comparison of the 22 most prominent EHS software vendors in the industry.

  • RFP Template for Waste Management Software

    Learn the essential questions to ask when evaluating waste management software solutions with this free, ready-to-use RFP template

  • 5 Keys to Best-in-Class Chemical Management

    Running a safe chemical program is challenging and complex: from knowing what's on-site to proper handling and disposal - all while navigating regulatory changes. Learn the best ways to mitigate chemical risk, get the most value out of your data, and gain buy-in for a chemical management solution.

Featured Webinar