EPA Approves Superfund Cleanup of Pennsylvania Superfund Site

Date: September 26, 2002

Source: News Room

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has concluded that nearly completed work to reduce pollution from a 32 million-ton pile of waste in the Palmerton (Pa.) Superfund site will meet the agency's objectives. The decision means Horsehead Industries will not have to take steps that could have been required by a 1988 EPA decision. The waste pile at the site, laced with heavy metals from decades of zinc smelting and containing tons of municipal garbage, was polluting water that runs down the mountain into Aquashicola Creek. In 1988, the EPA called for Horsehead to cover the waste pile with 18 inches of soil and clay to keep the water from going through the pile. But Horsehead in 1999 proposed its own plan, which EPA approved, calling for a water treatment system, ditches to channel water around the pile, and a 3- to 4-inch cover of grass planted in sewage sludge. Horsehead is handling the cleanup because it owns the former zinc smelting plant, where it recycles hazardous waste to reclaim zinc and other metals.

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