WEST CHESTER (November 5, 2021) – Residents who want to weigh in on the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection’s (DEP) plans to remediate environmental contamination at the site of the former Bishop Tube facility in East Whiteland Township have until Monday, November 8, to register for a virtual public hearing.

DEP is holding the virtual public hearing on Tuesday, November 9 at 6:30 p.m. Residents must register at least 24 hours in advance by e-mailing RA-EP-SEROECB@pa.gov. A link will be provided upon registration and oral comments will be limited to five minutes.

For those interested in only listening, access information is available at https://www.dep.pa.gov/PublicParticipation/Pages/Virtual-Public-Hearings.aspx

DEP is proposing a remedial response action to address soil, groundwater, and surface water contamination, as well as an impacted residential drinking water supply at the 13.7-acre site where several industrial businesses manufactured stainless steel tubes and seamless stainless steel products from the 1950s until 1999.

Hazardous substances were employed in the manufacturing processes throughout the history of site, such as chlorinated solvents, including trichloroethene (TCE). TCE, a commercial-grade solvent that was commonly used as a degreasing agent for manufactured metal parts, is the primary source of concern that led to soil contamination and groundwater impacts. In addition, other contaminants have been detected at the site, including elevated levels of fluoride, chromium, aluminum, and nickel. However, according to DEP, the TCE concentrations within soil, groundwater, and surface water are generally higher than other chlorinated solvents at the site and it poses the most substantial threat to human health and the environment. Besides being a known carcinogen, prolonged exposure to TCE can result in serious neurological, cardiac, reproductive, and developmental health problems.

Under the authority of the Hazardous Sites Cleanup Act, DEP is proposing to remediate the site to a combination of background, statewide health, and site-specific standards in accordance with the Land Recycling Program. After considering several courses of action, DEP is proposing a combination of in situ chemical injections, soil mixing, engineering practices, institutional controls, and long-term monitoring to address the soil, groundwater, and surface water contamination. The residences with the impacted well would be connected to an existing public water line.

The injection of chemical oxidants creates a chemical reaction that destroys harmful contaminants and produces harmless byproducts. It is commonly described as “in situ” because it is conducted in place, without having to excavate soil or pump out groundwater for aboveground cleanup.

<<Visit DEP’s Bishop Tube Page for More Info on the Proposal>>

According to DEP Secretary Patrick McDonnell, the $8.1 million proposed plan would protect public health and the environment and is more cost-effective than other considered alternatives.

State Senator Carolyn Comitta, minority chair of the Department of Environmental Resources and Energy Committee, is encouraging residents to review the plan and submit their comments.

“Over the years, residents and business owners have raised questions and expressed ongoing concerns about the future of this site,” she said. “It’s important that community members understand DEP’s proposed remediation plan and have an opportunity to weigh in, ask questions, and get answers.”

In addition to the public hearing, residents can submit public comment in writing until January 31, 2022. Written comments can be submitted by sending them via mail to Dustin A. Armstrong, Department of Environmental Protection, 2 East Main Street, Norristown, PA  19401, or by email to RA-EP-SEROECB@pa.gov. Please include “Bishop Tube Public Comment” in the subject of the email.   

All comments, whether delivered orally during the virtual hearing or submitted in writing carry equal weight and consideration with DEP.