DEP Reports On 2017-18 Hazardous Sites Cleanup Program Actions At 273 Sites In PA

On December 11, the Department of Environmental Protection posted an online FY 2017-18 annual report for the state Hazardous Sites Cleanup Program, Land Recycling, and other waste site remediation programs highlighting actions taken under the programs.

Click Here for a video introduction to the report by DEP Secretary McDonnell

Hazardous Sites Cleanup

The Hazardous Sites Cleanup Program was created in 1988 with three main purposes--

-- Establish a process for the investigation, cleanup and monitoring of hazardous substance  contaminated sites the federal Superfund program could not;

-- Funding for the state-share of the federal Superfund Program cleanup costs; and

-- Funding to pay state costs for administering the federal Hazardous Waste Program.

The report lists the status and ongoing state responsibilities for 273 sites in Pennsylvania under the program--

-- 95 DEP Investigations, Cleanups, and Monitoring Funded under HSCA                                      

-- 46 Cleanup Activities by Responsible Parties (RPs)                                                                            

-- 19 Federal Military Formerly Used Defense Sites (FUDS) Still to be Addressed in PA              

-- 113 Pennsylvania Active Sites on the Federal Superfund Priorities List  

DEP also took action under HSCA to provide residents at 18 sites around the state with  temporary, replacement water supplies when their water was contaminated with TCE or other pollutants.  In some cases, permanent supplies were installed.

The report details steps DEP is taking investigate and identify the risks posed by emerging contaminants like PFOA and PFOS to water supplies.  DEP has replaced water supplies affected by these chemicals and other measures where they are found to exceed the current EPA health advisory standard.

Although not part of the FY 2017-18 report, Gov. Wolf formed a PFOA Task Force in October of this year to bring together the resources of several state agencies to deal with the serious concerns raised by PFOA and related pollutants.

Land Recycling

In FY 2017-18, the Land Recycling Program approved 367 Act 2 cleanups bringing the total number of cleanups approved in the 22-year history of the program to 6,687.

Hazardous Waste Cleanups

Joint DEP-EPA Hazardous Waste Cleanups have resulted in the remediation of 355 sites since 2004 in Pennsylvania.

Cost Recovery

DEP has recovered over $1.8 million in cleanup costs from parties responsible for contamination at the sites under these programs.

Click Here to read the annual report.  To learn more about the program, visit DEP’s Hazardous Sites Cleanup Program webpage.

Program Challenges

Not addressed in the report is the ongoing challenge of providing funding for the Hazardous Sites Cleanup Program.

When the program was established in 1988, it was provided with $41.3 million a year in dedicated funding.  That dedicated funding is now down to just $1.6 million in FY 2018-19 as a result of the phase out of the state’s Capital Stock and Franchise Tax.

As a temporary measure the last few years, the General Assembly took money from DCNR’s Oil and Gas Lease Fund, transfer it to the Marcellus Shale Legacy Fund created to Act 13 in 2012 so it could be transferred again to the Hazardous Sites Cleanup Fund.

For FY 2018-19, the transfer was $15 million.  Total funding for HASC this fiscal year is $16.6 million, a real drop from the original $41.3 million.

In recent budget hearings, DEP Secretary McDonnell has identified securing financial stability for this program as an important priority for the agency.

(Photo: Cleaning up radioactive waste a former Karnish Instruments Site, Clinton County.)

Related Stories:

Senate Budget Hearing: DEP Plans To Add Safe Drinking Water Program Staff Ahead Of Fee Revenue To Address Deficiencies

Budget Testimony By DEP Secretary Patrick McDonnell, Improving Efficiency, Customer Service

PA’s Hazardous Sites Cleanup Act Is 30 Years Old: Where Will Future Funding Come From?

[Posted: Dec. 12, 2018]


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