By Shawn A. Hessinger, Tamaqua Bureau Chief, shessinger@republicanherald.com
The REPUBLICAN & Herald, © 2006

January 24, 2006

TAMAQUA – A proposal to treat leachate and groundwater from a Rush Township Superfund site in the Tamaqua sewage treatment plant won’t likely be accepted.

A sewer official says the borough authority, which operates the plant, would not likely accept the untreated material. The company charged with the site cleanup thinks pretreating the material would not be cost effective.

“They don’t want to pretreat it if they don’t have to,” Paul Fridirici, borough authority secretary and sewer plant manager said Monday at an authority meeting.

“We’re really not interested in taking untreated effluent from a Superfund site,” Fridirici added.

Still, the authority will continue to use a $3,000 escrow account established by Nassau Metals Corp. to test the feasibility of a proposal to accept the effluent if it could be pretreated to lower high metal contaminant levels.

“Nothing’s going into the sewer right now,” said authority Chairman Brian Connely.

Connely hinted earlier Monday that the idea of taking the material might be rejected by the authority and that members were aware of the unpopularity of the proposal.

However, Fridirichi’s comments to questions about the proposal Monday night seemed an even stronger indication of the authority’s inclination against the suggestion.

Fridirichi said conversations with Gary B. Emmanuel, senior associate with Environmental Resources Management, Exton, Pa., a Nassau Metals contractor, indicated the company might consider the option unfeasible if they were forced to pretreat the materials before emptying them into the Tamaqua sewer system.

The company is the respondent to a federal Environmental Protection Agency order regarding cleanup of the former Eastern Diversified Metals site in Rush Township, where, according to the EPA, from 1966 to 1977 waste insulation material, including plastic and lead coverings stripped from copper wire, were dumped, creating a pile that stands 40 feet high and measures 1,500 feet long at the 35-acre site.