[Federal Register Volume 65, Number 140 (Thursday, July 20, 2000)]
[Proposed Rules]
[Pages 45013-45016]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 00-17752]


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ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY

40 CFR Part 300

[FRL-6734-7]


National Oil and Hazardous Substances Pollution Contingency Plan 
National Priorities List

AGENCY: Environmental Protection Agency.

ACTION: Notice of intent to delete Publicker Industries Superfund Site 
from the National Priorities List; request for comments.

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SUMMARY: The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Region III announces 
its intent to delete the Publicker Industries Superfund Site (Site) 
from the National Priorities List (NPL) and requests public comment on 
this proposed action. The NPL constitutes appendix B of 40 CFR part 300 
which is the National Oil and Hazardous Substances Pollution 
Contingency Plan (NCP), which EPA promulgated pursuant to section 105 
of the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and 
Liability Act (CERCLA), as amended. EPA and the Pennsylvania Department 
of Environmental Protection (PADEP) have determined that the remedial 
action for the site has been successfully executed.

DATES: Comments concerning the proposed deletion of this Site from the 
NPL may be submitted on or before August 21, 2000.

ADDRESSES: Comments may be mailed to: Kristine Matzko (3HS21), Remedial 
Project Manager, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Region III, 1650 
Arch Street, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, 19103.

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    Comprehensive information, including the deletion docket, on this 
Site is available for viewing at the Site information repository at the 
following location: Regional Center for Environmental Information, U.S. 
Environmental Protection Agency, Region III, 1650 Arch Street, 
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, 19103, 215-814-5254.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Kristine Matzko (3HS21), Remedial 
Project Manager, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Region III, 1650 
Arch Street, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, 19103. Telephone 215-814-5719, 
e-mail address, matzko.kristine@epa.gov

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:   

Table of Contents

I. Introduction
II. NPL Deletion Criteria
III. Deletion Procedures
IV. Basis of Intended Site Deletion

I. Introduction

    The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Region III announces its 
intent to delete the Publicker Industries Superfund Site located in 
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, from the National Priorities List (NPL), 
appendix B of the National Oil and Hazardous Substance Pollution 
Contingency Plan (NCP), 40 CFR part 300, and requests public comments 
on this proposed action. EPA identifies sites that appear to present a 
significant risk to public health, welfare or the environment, and 
maintains the NPL as the list of these sites. As described in 
Sec. 300.425(e)(3) of the NCP, sites deleted from the NPL remain 
eligible for remedial actions in the unlikely event that future 
conditions at the site warrant such action.
    EPA and the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection 
(PADEP) have determined that remedial activities conducted at the Site 
have been successfully executed.
    EPA will accept comments on the proposal to delete this Site for 
thirty calendar days after publication of this notice in the Federal 
Register.
    Section II of this document explains the criteria for deleting 
sites from the NPL. Section III discusses the procedures that EPA is 
using for this action. Section IV discusses the Publicker Industries 
Superfund Site and explains how the Site meets the deletion criteria.

II. NPL Deletion Criteria

    The NCP established the criteria that EPA uses to delete sites from 
the NPL. In accordance with 40 CFR 300.425(e), sites may be deleted 
from the NPL where no further response is appropriate. In making this 
determination, EPA shall consider, in consultation with the state, 
whether any of the following criteria have been met:
    (i) The responsible parties or other parties have implemented all 
appropriate response actions required; or
    (ii) All appropriate Fund-financed responses under CERCLA have been 
implemented and no further action by responsible parties is 
appropriate; or
    (iii) The remedial investigation has shown that the release poses 
no significant threat to public health or the environment and, 
therefore, remedial measures are not appropriate. Even if a site is 
deleted from the NPL, where hazardous substances, pollutants, or 
contaminants remain at the site above levels that allow for unlimited 
use and unrestricted exposure, EPA will conduct a review of the site at 
least every five years after the initiation of the remedial action at 
the site to ensure that the site remains protective of public health 
and the environment.
    In the case of this Site, the selected remedy is protective of 
human health and the environment so long as the property is used only 
for industrial purposes. If new information becomes available which 
indicates a need for further action, EPA may initiate remedial actions. 
Whenever there is a significant release from a site deleted from the 
NPL, the site may be restored to the NPL without the application of the 
Hazard Ranking System.

III. Deletion Procedures

    The following procedures were used for the intended deletion of 
this Site:
    (i) EPA Region III has recommended deletion and has prepared the 
relevant documents. All appropriate responses under CERCLA have been 
implemented as documented in the Final Close-Out Report dated March 19, 
2000.
    (ii) PADEP has concurred with the deletion decision in a letter 
dated June 13, 2000. Concurrent with this Notice of Intent to Delete, 
an advertisement in a local paper presents information on the Site and 
announces the commencement of the thirty (30) day public comment period 
on the deletion package.
    (iii) The EPA Regional Office has made all relevant documents 
supporting the proposed deletion available for the public to review in 
the EPA Regional Office.
    Deletion of the Site from the NPL does not itself create, alter, or 
revoke any individual's rights or obligations. The NPL is designed 
primarily for informational purposes and to assist EPA management. As 
mentioned in section II of this document, Sec. 300.425(e)(3) of the NCP 
states that the deletion of a site from the NPL does not preclude 
eligibility for future response actions.
    For deletion of this Site, EPA's Regional Office will accept and 
evaluate public comments on EPA's Notice of Intent to Delete before 
making a final decision to delete. If necessary, the EPA will prepare a 
Responsiveness Summary to address any significant public comments 
received.
    A deletion occurs when the EPA Region III Regional Administrator 
places a final notice, a Notice of Deletion, in the Federal Register. 
Generally, the NPL will reflect deletions in the final update. Public 
notices and copies of the Responsiveness Summary will be made available 
to the public by the EPA Regional Office.

IV. Basis for Intended Site Deletion

    The following summary provides the EPA's rationale for the proposal 
to delete this Site from the NPL.

Site Background and History

    The Publicker Industries Superfund Site (the Site) is located in 
southeastern Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The Site is bordered to the 
east by the Delaware River, to the north by the Ashland Chemical 
Company, to the south by the Packer Marine Terminal and New Orleans 
Cold Storage, and to the west by Christopher Columbus Boulevard 
(formerly Delaware Avenue). The Site is adjacent to, and partially 
under the Walt Whitman Bridge, which spans the Delaware River from 
Pennsylvania to New Jersey. The Site covers approximately 42 acres.
    From 1912 to early 1986, Publicker Industries, Incorporated, owned 
and operated a liquor and industrial alcohol manufacturing plant. The 
Publicker Plant (Plant) fermented potatoes, molasses, corn and other 
grains to form various kinds of alcohols. The alcohols were used in 
numerous products, including whiskey, solvents, cleansers, antifreeze, 
and rubbing alcohol. Petroleum products and chemicals were also stored 
at the Plant during the late 1970's and early 1980's.
    Plant operations were discontinued in February 1986 and, later that 
year, Publicker Industries sold the property to the Overland 
Corporation. Overland Corporation declared bankruptcy and abandoned the 
site in November 1986.
    The Site initially included numerous large tanks, production 
buildings/warehouses, and an estimated several hundred miles of above-
ground process lines. Many of the process lines were wrapped with 
asbestos insulation. The

[[Page 45015]]

majority of the existing structures had deteriorated due to weather, 
fire, neglect, and vandalism.

Superfund Response Activities

    Large amounts of hazardous wastes and materials were discovered at 
the Site following an extensive fire in June 1987. During subsequent 
investigations, EPA determined that the conditions on Site posed an 
imminent threat to human health and environment. Consequently, EPA 
completed several emergency actions from December 1987 to December 
1988. These actions included the stabilization of structures, 
characterization of the contents of drums and tanks, bulking and 
securing of over 850,000 gallons of numerous waste streams, off-site 
disposal of laboratory containers, and removal of liquids from above-
grade process lines.
    In May 1989, the Site scored 59.99 on the Hazard Ranking System, 
and was added to the National Priorities List in October 1989.
    EPA began the Remedial Investigation/Feasibility Study (RI/FS) 
activities in November 1989. In January 1995, EPA finalized the RI/FS.
    The Site was divided into three operable units. Below is a summary 
of each operable unit and the remedial actions: Operable Unit #1 Site 
Stabilization, Operable Unit #2 Asbestos Remediation, Operable Unit #3 
Soil and Ground Water.
    In June 1989, the first Record of Decision (ROD) for the Site was 
issued. The ROD addressed Site Stabilization. The remedial actions 
detailed in the ROD consisted of transportation and off-site disposal 
of known waste streams, draining and demolition of above-grade process 
lines, and transportation and off-site disposal of wastes discovered in 
above-grade process lines. During this remediation, asbestos-containing 
materials were encountered on the process lines. This asbestos-
containing material was bagged and stored on-site. Remedial activities 
began in October 1989 and were completed in December 1990.
    Many of the above-grade process lines were wrapped with asbestos 
insulation. As a result of Operable Unit #1 remediation, asbestos-
containing materials remained on-site in bags as well as on pipes. The 
asbestos was investigated in the early spring of 1991. A Focused 
Feasibility Study (FFS) was completed in the spring of 1991 and EPA 
subsequently issued a ROD for Operable Unit #2 on June 28, 1991. The 
remedy included: the removal of remaining asbestos from piping staged 
throughout the Site; placement in secure packaging (plastic bags); and 
staging and preparation for transport and disposal; the collection of 
asbestos previously packaged and staged at the Site; repackaging it, if 
necessary; and preparation for transport and disposal; and 
transportation of asbestos to a permitted off-site disposal facility.
    An initial remedial design was developed in September 1991; 
however, a site fire in April 1992 delayed remedial action until 
February 21, 1995. The Site was divided into five work areas. The 
asbestos-containing material was removed using three methodologies: 
gross removal, glove bag, and remote containment. The material was then 
packaged and transported to off-site disposal facilities. The remedial 
action was completed on May 19, 1995. A total of 199.87 tons of 
asbestos-containing materials were disposed during the remedial action.
    EPA used the Superfund Trust Fund to pay for the site cleanup costs 
for Operable Unit #1 and Operable Unit #2. Operable Unit #3 was 
remediated by the current site owner after negotiating a Prospective 
Purchaser Agreement (PPA) with EPA.
    In December 1994, EPA and the PADEP, finalized a Prospective 
Purchaser Agreement (PPA) for the Site. The primary purpose of the PPA 
was to settle and resolve the potential liability of the Delaware 
Avenue Enterprises, Incorporated (DAE), Cresmont Limited Partnership, 
and Holt Cargo Systems Incorporated (collectively referred to as the 
Parties).
    In exchange for covenants not to sue, the Parties agreed to pay EPA 
and PADEP a total of $2.3 million. Additionally, the PPA stated that 
the Parties may petition EPA to be allowed to perform all or a discrete 
portion of the CERCLA response selected in the ROD for Operable Unit 
#3. The agreed-upon value of such work may offset any balance of 
payments still outstanding to EPA and/or PADEP under this PPA. In 
January 1996, DAE petitioned to do the remedial work. An amendment to 
the PPA was signed on December 19, 1996 allowing DAE to implement the 
remedy.
    The third and final ROD for the Site was signed on December 28, 
1995. Before beginning the remedial work, the Remedial Action Work Plan 
(RAWP) was approved by EPA on July 17, 1997. DAE's contractor proceeded 
on August 6, 1997; mobilization took place on August 7, 1997; and 
construction activities started on August 11, 1997.
    The selected remedy involved: abandoning on-site groundwater wells; 
removal, treatment, and off-site disposal of liquids and sediments in 
contaminated electric utilities; removal, treatment, and off-site 
disposal of liquids and sediments in contaminated storm water trenches 
and utilities; and removal, treatment and off-site disposal of 
miscellaneous wastes.
    The ROD required that if excavation should occur on-site in the 
future, that monitoring will be conducted to ensure worker safety. A 
deed notice has been filed which notifies future owners of the listing 
of the Site on the National Priorities List, the releases of hazardous 
substances, and the existence of RODs for the Site. Furthermore, the 
deed notice alerts future owners that they ``shall not put the Site to 
any use which could disturb or be inconsistent with the remedial 
response action implemented at the Site.''
    EPA and PADEP conducted several inspections during the remediation 
of Operable Unit #3. These inspections included: an inspection of the 
abandoned wells on September 5, 1997; an inspection of the stormsewers 
on October 10, 1997; an inspection of the electric utilities on 
December 2 and 9, 1997; an inspection of the stormwater trenches on 
December 2, 1997; and finally an inspection of the additional storm 
water lines on January 13 and 16, 1998. The remedial activities were 
performed according to design specifications set forth in the Remedial 
Action Work Plan.
    EPA issued a Preliminary close Out Report on December 2, 1997 which 
documented the completion of construction activities., Remedial actions 
were completed on May 11, 1998. DAE submitted a Final Report on 
Operable Unit #3 dated June 1998 which described the remedial 
activities. A follow-up site-visit and interview was held on September 
8, 1999 as part of the review of the Final Report and as part of the 
five year review. An addendum to the Final Report was later submitted 
to EPA, and EPA accepted the final report on September 29, 1999.
    None of the Operable Units require operation and maintenance or 
post-remedial action monitoring. Neither the OU#1 nor the OU#2 ROD 
remedies required Operation and Maintenance or post-remedial action 
monitoring. Originally, for Operable Unit #3 the stormwater outfalls 
were to be monitored to assess if the Delaware River was receiving any 
contamination. However, the stormwater outfalls and connections to the 
city sewer were sealed to eliminate the need to monitor the outfalls.

Five Year Reviews

    EPA conducted two five year reviews of the Site. The first five 
year review was completed in October 1996 and the second review was 
completed in

[[Page 45016]]

February 2000. During the first five year review, the remedy for 
Operable Unbite #3 had not yet been completed and, therefore, the five 
year review concluded that the remedy for the entire Site was not 
protective. The second five year review concluded that the remedies are 
protective of the environment and human health for non-residential uses 
and that further reviews need to continue.

Final Close-Out Report

    EPA issued a Final Close Out Report (FCOR) on March 19, 2000 that 
documented the completion of all construction activities for the 
Publicker Industries Superfund Site. As part of the FCOR, EPA and PADEP 
conducted a site visit on September 8, 1999. The site visit and review 
information concluded that all the remedial actions have been 
successfully executed.

Applicable Deletion Criteria

    EPA is proposing deletion of this Site from the NPL. In a letter 
dated June 13, 2000 PADEP concurred with EPA that all appropriate 
responses under CERCLA have been implemented. Documents supporting this 
action are available from the docket. EPA believes that the criteria 
state in section II(i) and (ii) for deletion of this Site have been 
met. Therefore, EPA is proposing the deletion of the Publicker 
Industries Superfund Site from the NPL.

    Dated: June 21, 2000.
Bradley M. Campbell,
Regional Administrator, Region III.
[FR Doc. 00-17752 Filed 7-19-00; 8:45 am]
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