FARRELL EPA to expand testing of water, soil at site of former steel plant

The latest study should take about 18 months.
FARRELL, Pa. -- The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency wants to take a closer look at the extent of contamination on a 400-acre slag disposal site at the former Sharon Steel Corp. plant.
The EPA has already determined there are various heavy metals such as arsenic, cadmium and zinc in slag and sludge wastes as well as various metals and hyrdocarbons in both surface and subsurface soils and metals and PCBs in river and stream sediment.
Spokesman Pat Gaughan said the agency wants a more detailed look at the level and location of contaminants and is expanding its study area into a section of land west of the plant and the Shenango River.
The goal is to come up with a cleanup plan to eliminate, reduce or control risks to human health and the environment, he said.
The latest version of the study, which starts Monday, should take about 18 months to complete, Gaughan said.
Because Sharon Steel went bankrupt and all of its assets have been sold, the EPA will pick up the tab for the study and eventual cleanup, if any is required, through the federal Superfund program.
The slag dump was declared a Superfund site in 1998.
Tests planned
Gaughan said the testing includes drilling 100-foot-deep water sampling wells around the site, and collecting samples from all existing shallow test wells, surface soil and flood plain samples, surface water and sediment samples and river, creek and pond samples.
The collection process should be completed by mid-October, and samples will then be tested for contaminants.
Black and Veatch of Philadelphia is the EPA's contractor handling the work.
Duferco Farrell Corp., a steel processor, now occupies much of the Sharon Steel plant site.

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