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October 1, 2019
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (PADEP) announced that they have removed the groundwater portion of the 65-acre Novak Sanitary Landfill in South Whitehall Township in Lehigh County, Pa., from the Superfund National Priorities List (NPL).
“EPA is focused on making substantial and meaningful progress cleaning up Superfund Sites,” said EPA Regional Administrator Cosmo Servidio in a statement. “Partially delisting the Novak Sanitary Landfill Site from the Superfund list is an important milestone that marks the completion of years of cleanup work and collaboration across many levels of government.”
The site was once contaminated with hazardous chemicals due to past disposal practices.
Beginning in the mid-1950s, municipal, residential, commercial and industrial wastes were disposed of in the landfill. This continued in various sections of the landfill until it was closed in 1990 by the state. The site was contaminated with volatile organic compounds, semi-volatile organic compounds and metals in a variety of media and was added to the NPL in 1989.
Since that time, an extensive cleanup has occurred, and regular sampling activities have confirmed that no further Superfund response actions for groundwater are necessary to protect human health and the environment.
The site’s long-term remedy included construction of a multilayered cap, leachate collection and landfill gas monitoring systems, well monitoring, institutional controls and construction of a fence around the site. Construction of the remedy was completed in 2004. Groundwater monitoring, operation and maintenance of the cap and the gas monitoring system remain ongoing.
EPA has conducted several five-year reviews of the site to ensure that the remedies put in place continue to protect public health and the environment and function as intended. The most recent review in 2016 concluded that the remedy continues to be protective of human health and the environment. The next five-year review is scheduled for 2021.
On August 8, EPA announced its intent to partially delete the groundwater portion of the Novak Sanitary Landfill Superfund Site from the NPL. EPA partially deletes sites from the NPL, with state concurrence, when all cleanup goals pertaining to a specific portion of the site have been met.
The public had an opportunity to comment on this proposed partial deletion during a 30-day public comment period from August 8 until September 9. No adverse comments were received during the public comment period.
This partial deletion pertains only to the groundwater portion of the site. The landfill and landfill gas components of the site will remain on the NPL, and operation, maintenance and monitoring of those parts of the site will continue.
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