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Crossley Farm Superfund Cleanup to Receive Additional $5.5 Million
Written by Bradley Schlegel, Staff Writer
2021-12-22

            Implementation of the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law means an additional $5.5 million to help clean up a Superfund Site in Hereford Township. Last week, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced the first wave of investment will be used to initiate cleanup and clear the backlog of 49 previously unfunded sites and accelerate cleanup at dozens of other sites across the country.

            At the Crossley Farm Site, located in the Huffs Church section of the township, the additional money will be utilized to continue cleaning up a trichloroethylene groundwater contamination "hot spot." This work will include installing extraction wells, pretreating the contaminated groundwater, piping it to the existing treatment plant, and expanding the existing treatment plant to be able to treat the additional contaminated groundwater, according to a Dec. 17 news release from the federal agency.

            John G. Membrino, chair of the township's board of supervisors, expressed support for the federal agency's actions. He praised the communicative efforts of Roy Schrock, the remedial project manager.  "The situation is   stable," Membrino said Monday afternoon.

            U.S. Sen. Bob Casey described the allocation as a victory for residents who live in the community. He stated that far too many people, particularly in underserved communities, live near Superfund sites that have lacked funding for cleanup efforts.

            "The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law is about to change that," said Casey, a Democrat, in the prepared statement.

            Groundwater is currently being extracted from the 209-acre farm and treated at a plant that is successfully removing TCE, a volatile solvent used for degreasing during the manufacture of products. A portion of the property was used for dumping wastes.

            The treatment plant is also stopping the groundwater plume from spreading. Where necessary, residential drinking water is being treated with carbon filtration and monitored by the state. Also, where necessary, residential mitigation systems are addressing potential vapor intrusion caused by groundwater contamination.

            The allocation will allow the treatment of eight additional wells in the hot spot, according to Roy Schrock, a remedial project manager with the federal agency. He said significant progress in the removal of TCE there should be accomplished within two years.

            The treatment of four wells in a valley near the hotspot is 95 percent complete, according to Schrock. He said level of TCE contamination, which started at 2,000 parts per billion, is currently down to 10 parts per billion.

            Between the mid-1960s and the mid-1970s, the Bally Case and Cooler Company disposed of numerous drums of liquid waste at the site. These activities contaminated soil and groundwater with hazardous chemicals, specifically trichloroethylene. The site was added to the National Priorities List in 1992, making it eligible for investigation and cleanup under the federal Superfund program, according to information posted on a Crossley Farm Cleanup Activities page on the EPA's website.

            It also states that regional groundwater is being treated in a treatment plant – measuring 140 long, 75 feet wide and 22 feet high – on the farm property near Huff's Church Road– using air stripper technology and carbon filtration to remove the TCE contamination. The treated water is released into discharge galleries that lead to the Perkiomen Creek.

            The EPA has installed over 100 monitoring wells in the vicinity of the site. Past levels of TCE have been detected in the groundwater as high as 700,000 micrograms per liter. The drinking water standard for TCE is five micrograms per liter. Since the pump-and-treat facility began operations in 2012, levels are decreasing, according to the information.

            The $1 billion investment is the first wave of funding from the law to help clean up polluted Superfund sites in communities. Overall, $3.5 billion has been allocated to remediate locations in 24 states and territories and all 10 EPA regions, according to information provided by the federal agency.


 

 

 

 

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