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FARRELL EPA: Former Sharon Steel site pollutes river



Published: Fri, November 16, 2001 @ 12:00 a.m.



Some contaminants have shown up in nearby residential water wells.

By HAROLD GWIN

VINDICATOR SHARON BUREAU

FARRELL, Pa. -- The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has found a wide range of contaminants on and around the former disposal site of the Sharon Steel Corp. plant along the Shenango River.

The agency released an update of its environmental study at the site, identifying various heavy metals such as arsenic, cadmium and zinc in slag and sludge wastes, various metals and hydrocarbons in both surface and subsurface soils, metals and polychlorinated biphenyls in river and stream sediment, metals in surface water, and some metals in residential wells near the site.

Arsenic levels: The first-phase environmental examination turned up consistently elevated levels of arsenic in three of 37 residential wells tested, but all were still within current public drinking water standards, the EPA said.

Seven other wells showed some elevated levels of arsenic, manganese and thallium during at least one sampling. None, however, have had consistently high ratings and are unlikely to pose health concerns, the agency said.

The EPA undertook the study because the Sharon Steel Corp. is bankrupt and has sold most of its assets.

The company went out of business in 1992.

Disposal yards: The waste disposal area, which includes a basic oxygen furnace sludge disposal yard, a white slag storage yard, a byproducts storage yard, a basic oxygen furnace/electric arc furnace storage yard and an acid slag disposal yard, is located between the Broadway Avenue plant and the Shenango River.

It was placed on the National Priorities List (Superfund) in 1998.

The EPA will now conduct a second-phase environmental examination to more clearly define the nature and extent of contamination and how that contamination could migrate from the site.

Field work on phase two will begin in the spring.

Once that is done, the EPA will conduct a feasibility study to evaluate those findings and determine whether some cleanup will be needed.

gwin@vindy.com




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