2007.10.23 – New EPA manager named for McAdoo site

http://www.republicanherald.com/articles/2007/10/23/import/18945323.txt

New EPA manager named for McAdoo site

McADOO — A change in command for oversight of the former McAdoo Associates Superfund tract brought several borough residents to the Blaine Street site Monday morning hoping to be updated on the area’s condition.

BY LESLIE RICHARDSON
STAFF WRITER
lrichardson@republicanherald.com
Published: Tuesday, October 23, 2007 3:00 AM EDT

McADOO — A change in command for oversight of the former McAdoo Associates Superfund tract brought several borough residents to the Blaine Street site Monday morning hoping to be updated on the area’s condition.

Rom Roman, remedial project manager from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, who oversees the site, brought Brad White, who will take over the project under the same job title, to the area for a routine visit as part of the transition process.

White will not take over the management role immediately. He largely adopted a listening mode during the gathering.

White said he “just found out today” about the meeting scheduled for Wednesday to release data about reports of cancer clusters involving people who live near the former Superfund sites.

White said he plans to attend the meeting.

He and Roman were met by several residents, including Patti Dreyer, who lives close to the former toxic waste site; Mary Lou Labert, a member of McAdoo Borough Council, and John Kolbush, a concerned citizen. Bruce Rundell, EPA geologist; Joe Iannuzzo, Pennsylvania Department or Environmental Protection project officer, and John Mellow, DEP geologist were also at the site.

The Blaine Street area is one of two in the former McAdoo Associates operation. According to the EPA Web site, it covers about a fifth of an acre behind a residential area of West Blaine Street. The second, larger former toxic waste area covers eight acres in Kline Township.

EPA deleted the sites from the national priorities list of most hazardous waste sites when a cleanup was complete.

The agency managed the removal of the surface debris and contaminated soil. Clean top soil and a cap were placed over the sites. The manual pumping and treatment of contaminated ground water at the Blaine Street location was completed in 2001, according to the EPA.

Iannuzzo said EPA must still monitor the site yearly.

Samples of the water were taken using the seven monitoring wells at the site in September.

“We did geophysical work and there is contamination in one well, but it is not getting to the surface water,” Mellow said. “No one is exposed to it. We did recent samples of the surface water and nothing showed up.”

Mellow said the data needs to be analyzed and anything else that can be done to eliminate the contamination has yet to be determined.

“It was another confirmation of what we already know,” Roman said. “Petroleum products were here and contaminated the water. You have the same. But there are no immediate health-related problems for you because you do not use this water, you are on public water.”

Roman said EPA wanted more samples from each well and a second round of sampling with a full scope of compounds in each of the seven wells will be done.

He promised the small group of residents on hand a full report when completed.

“I feel like McAdoo borough is not getting enough information,” Labert said. “We should be getting official letters from EPA and DEP not pulling information off of Web sites.”

Labert asked why the petroleum is still showing up in the samples.

“You have been monitoring this since the ’80s,” Labert said. “Could they still be from years ago?”

Rundell said the well where the petroleum is detected in bedrock that is so tight the water is slow moving.

“There could be an oil pocket there from years ago,” Rundell said. “One well is drilled very close to the tank that leaked and oil seeped through the soil. The well is in the rock and there could be a little pocket of product in the rock.”

Rundell said the water in the creek near the site was tested and no product was found in the creek.

None of the DEP or EPA representatives could say what the next step would be to try to clear up any petroleum still there — or if anything could be done.

The state Department of Health will hold a public meeting from 7 to 9 p.m. Wednesday at Best Western Genetti Inn & Suites, Hazleton, to release findings on a rare blood cancer called polycythemia vera that several regional residents have come down with.

Representatives from the Agency for Toxic Substance and Disease Registry, along with a national polycythemia vera expert and a local doctor, will also attend the meeting.

Both Roman and White said it was purely a coincidence that their visit was scheduled on Monday.

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