EPA, Companies Reach $2.1M Deal On OxyChem Site

POTTSTOWN PA – Current and former owners and operators of what once was an Occidental Chemical Corporation manufacturing plant on the southeast corner of Armand Hammer Boulevard and Industrial Highway in Lower Pottsgrove (PA) Township have agreed to pay $2.1 million for earlier cleanup efforts the site, the federal Environmental Protection Agency regional office in Philadelphia announced Wednesday (Jan. 25, 2012).

One of several entrances to the now-cleaned OxyChem site on Armand Hammer Boulevard, being marketed as the Tri-County Commerce Park

Under a consent decree filed in federal court by the Justice Department on behalf of EPA, the companies also assumed responsibility for all future cleanup costs. They include Occidental Chemical Corp., the most recent owner and often referred to as OxyChem; Glenn Springs Holdings Inc., an OxyChem subsidiary that has been managing the property’s clean-up and re-development; and Bridgestone Americas Tire Operations, which preceded OxyChem at the site with a tire manufacturing plant.

OxyChem manufactured polyvinyl chloride (PVC) plastic resins there from 1980 to 2005. It bought the property from the Firestone Tire and Rubber Company, now known as Bridgestone, which manufactured tires and PVC there from about 1945 to 1980.

From 1942 to 1985, operators used The site was used to dispose of industrial wastes including cutting oils, metal filings, tires, and PVC sludge resins. It was identified as having unsafe levels of trichloroethylene, vinyl chloride, and other hazardous substances in the soil and groundwater.

After OxyChem ended operations, the site was investigated during 1983 and later for potential pollutants. It was declared an EPA “Superfund” site to designate it as among the nation’s “most contaminated” locations, the agency announcement said. OxyChem, under EPA oversight, performed remedial action on the property and completed construction in 2008.

As of Thursday (Jan. 26), according to the EPA, the property was now considered safe for human exposure, and the migration of any contaminated ground water was deemed to be under control.

To encourage development along Armand Hammer Boulevard, which was renamed for OxyChem’s president, Lower Pottsgrove‘s Board of Commissioners had created a Local Economic Revitalization Tax Assistance Act (LERTA) district to give incoming business owners property tax breaks within the area. The district included the former OxyChem facility, the land now occupied by Aldi’s Supermarket and Home Depot, and other parcels stretching east to Sanatoga Station Road. The district’s authorization ended in 2008.

The property has since enjoyed a rebirth as a location for light- and moderate-industrial uses, and is being marketed as the Tri-County Commerce Park. A brochure about its tenants and available space can be downloaded here.

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Photo from CB Richard Ellis