It’s no secret how I feel about the Bishop Tube Site in East Whiteland. It’s the poison ground and apparently now some sort of cleanup is starting. We would not have gotten this far without the Delaware Riverkeeper Network. There really doesn’t need to be any more commentary from me, I am just posting what the DEP posted today and I’m also including the YouTube link to the Bishop Tube documentary.
I haven’t written about Bishop Tube in a very long time. You see, I was the innocent and named resident in the nefarious SLAPP suit the developer filed a few years ago.
You can see a history of the past few years on the Delaware Riverkeeper website (CLICK HERE). Here is a screenshot from the Delaware Riverkeeper website:
Like the Delaware Riverkeeper, I was vindicated. My attorney is and was Sam Stretton of West Chester.
My opinions on this site remain unchanged. TCE isn’t something to play around with and I am entitled to said opinion as per the First Amendment. East Whiteland approved a development plan for 92 homes earlier in 2021. You knew they would. But it’s all still tied up in court, and Maya van Rossum had sent out a message about oral arguments apparently on Monday, September 27th, 10 AM regarding this plan that have now been postponed :
Here is the message about the postponement:
I went looking for the case, don’t know if it is this one, but guess it is? (See below here)
The Delaware Riverkeeper has also pointed out something coming up in November 9th – looks like a public hearing. This notice was from the PA DEP apparently:
Here is the verbiage from above notice:
ENVIRONMENTAL CLEANUP & BROWNFIELDS
HAZARDOUS SITES CLEAN-UP UNDER THE ACT OF
OCTOBER 18, 1988
Notice of Proposed Remedial Response
Southeast Regional Office: Environmental Cleanup & Brownfields Program, 2 East Main Street, Norristown, PA 19401, 484-250-5960.
The Bishop Tube Site, South Malin Road, Malvern, PA, 19355, East Whiteland Township Chester County.
The Department of Environmental Protection (DEP), under the authority of the Hazardous Sites Cleanup Act (HSCA) (35 P.S. §§ 6020.102—6020.1303), is proposing a remedial response action at the Bishop Tube HSCA Site (the Site) to address soil, groundwater, surface water, and a residential drinking water supply that have been contaminated by chlorinated solvents and/or inorganic contaminants of concern (COCs).
The Site consists of areas of groundwater, soil, and surface water contamination. Groundwater contamination at the Site affects properties, located along South Malin Road, Lancaster Avenue (US Rt. 30), Conestoga Road (PA Rt. 401), Morehall Road (PA Rt. 29), and Village Way. The sources of the contaminated groundwater and surface water and areas of contaminated soil are located on the 13.7-acre former Bishop Tube property (Source Property), currently owned by Constitution Drive Partners, L.P. (CDP). The Source Property’s address is listed as 1 South Malin Road, Malvern, PA 19355.
TCE is considered the primary Site-related COC because its concentrations within soil, groundwater, and surface water are generally higher than other chlorinated solvents and pose the most substantial threat to human health and the environment of all Site-related COCs. Additionally, TCE has migrated further in groundwater than the other COCs released at the Site. Since a public water supply is available within the entire Site boundary, vapor intrusion (VI), and not ingestion of or direct exposure to groundwater, is anticipated to be the most significant exposure pathway. Potential routes of exposure on the Source Property include trespasser and construction worker direct contact to soil and surface water, and construction worker inhalation during excavation. Potential exposure routes for a future redevelopment scenario may include inhalation from VI and drinking from wells, if installed. Potential routes of exposure for downgradient properties may include the VI pathway, if new construction occurs in areas impacted by contaminated groundwater and/or occupied buildings are modified, and the potential use of untreated contaminated groundwater, if any new supply wells are installed. DEP is proposing to divide the Site into three operable units (OU) and to remediate the Site to a combination of the Act 2 standards, including background, Statewide health, and site-specific.
OU 1 consists of soil contamination on the Source Property. Alternatives considered for OU1 include Alternative 1—No Action, which is required to be considered as a baseline for each OU; Alternative 2—Engineering Controls, Coupled with Institutional Controls (ICs); Alternative 3—Excavation with Offsite Treatment and/or Disposal; Alternative 4—Excavation with Onsite Treatment and Alternative 5—In Situ Chemical Oxidation/In Situ Chemical Reduction (ISCO/ISCR), Coupled with Soil Mixing. DEP proposes the selection of Alternative 5—ISCO and/or ISCR, Coupled with Soil Mixing to address areas of elevated COCs in unsaturated and saturated soils. The proposed alternative is more cost effective and provides unique benefits that are expected to compliment the preferred groundwater remediation approach, discussed below. This alternative will comply with Applicable, or Relevant and Appropriate Requirements (ARARs), is expected to have a smaller carbon footprint and results in lower potential for erosion/sedimentation and fugitive air emissions than the other alternatives considered. Engineering controls, designed to protect Little Valley Creek (LVC) and reduce surface infiltration and contaminant migration, would be evaluated upon completion of the soil remedy work and implemented and/or maintained as part of the groundwater remedy. Completion of this alternative is expected to take four years and cost around $2.8 million. Long-term operations and maintenance costs associated with engineering and institutional controls are incorporated into the OU2 Groundwater remedy.
ISCO/ISCR, coupled with soil mixing would be protective of public health and the environment and meet the remedial action objectives (RAOs) by addressing soil exposure pathways, reducing contaminant transfer and migration to and by groundwater, and preventing erosion during construction and after regrading and/or restoration are completed.
OU2 consists of Site groundwater. Alternatives considered for OU2 include Alternative 1—No Action; Alternative 2—Monitored Natural Attenuation; Alternative 3—In Situ Injection (ISCO/ISCR/Bioremediation); Alternative 4—In Situ Thermal Treatment (ISTT); and Alternative 5—Hydraulic Control. DEP proposes selecting Alternative 3—In Situ Injection (ISCO/ISCR/Bioremediation) to address COCs in groundwater. Implementation of this alternative would involve phased injection of amendments to treat the targeted groundwater source areas; engineering and/or ICs to mitigate Site impacts to LVC and address potential future human exposure to COCs in groundwater resulting from water well installation and/or VI; and long-term monitoring of engineering controls/ICs and ongoing natural attenuation.
Establishment of ICs, as an initial step, would immediately address the primary RAO to mitigate potential future human exposure to Site-related COCs in accordance with an Act 2 site-specific standard. Over time, implementation of Alternative 3 would achieve the other RAOs, including reducing COC migration in groundwater across the Source Property boundary, reducing the diffuse discharge of COCs to LVC, and hastening retraction of the contaminant plume. Completion of the active (i.e., injection) phase would be evaluated through monitoring of amendment distribution and attainment of conditions suitable for continued anaerobic biological degradation of CVOCs. After completion of the active phase of remediation, long-term monitoring would continue to assure exposure pathways are not opened due to changes in conditions (i.e., new construction or supply well installation), operations and maintenance of engineering controls and/or ICs, and to evaluate progress toward attaining RAOs.
DEP considers Alternative 3 to be more implementable than hydraulic control and ISTT because no extracted water will require discharge and/or additional pre-treatment before discharge. Any stream or sewage discharge would necessitate additional levels of pre-treatment and approvals for discharge to an exceptional value water or public sewer system. It is also more cost effective than these other alternatives and would provide for quicker attainment of RAOs than monitored natural attenuation alone. Preconstruction, construction, and active remedy implementation costs associated with the proposed alternative would be approximately $2.8M. Long-term post remedial costs are estimated to be $2.5M, based on a present value (PV) calculation, resulting in a total estimated PV cost of about $5.3M.
The in situ injection alternative would comply with ARARs and be protective of human health and the environment primarily through assuring exposure pathway elimination via engineering controls and ICs.
OU3 consists of the one contaminated potable drinking water supply, located within the Site area. Alternatives considered for OU3 include Alternative 1—No Action; Alternative 2—Continued Operation, Maintenance, and Monitoring of a Whole House Carbon Filtration System, Combined with Restrictions on the Use of Groundwater; and Alternative 3—Connection to the Existing Public Water Supply Waterline, Combined with Restrictions on the Use of Groundwater. DEP proposes the selection of Alternative 3—Connection to the Existing Public Water Supply Waterline, Combined with Restrictions on the Use of Groundwater. Under Alternative 3, a lateral connection would be installed from the existing waterline main to the affected residential property and the private water supply well would be abandoned. The proposed alternative is a permanent solution that is protective of human health. The nearby existing public water infrastructure makes the proposed project alternative relatively easy to implement. Once connected to the waterline, the private well will be abandoned, therefore additional sampling of the residential well will not be required. The action will comply with ARARs relating to safe drinking water standards.
Connection of the home to the existing public water supply would cost approximately $24,000 and is more cost effective than continuing to operate, maintain, and monitor the point of entry system that currently exists on this residential water supply.
Alternative 3 would protect public health by permanently eliminating exposure to Site-related COCs resulting from use of the impacted private well.
In summary, DEP’s proposed remedy includes ISCO/ISCR, coupled with soil mixing to address unsaturated and saturated soils impacted by Site COCs; in situ injection of ISCO, ISCR or bioremediation amendments in the two primary CVOC source areas to address contaminated groundwater with engineering, and/or ICs, and long-term monitoring; and connection of the residence with an impacted domestic well to the existing public water line.
In combination, implementation of these proposed alternatives would protect public health and the environment and address potential exposure pathways by using engineering controls and ICs, connecting a home with a private well to the public waterline, reducing COC migration across the source property boundary, reducing migration and diffuse discharge of COCs to LVC, and hastening retraction of the groundwater contaminant plume by reducing source concentrations of COCs in soil and groundwater.
If selected, implementation of these alternatives would be designed and implemented in a complimentary manner to avoid potential negative interactions, comport with the protections afforded under Article 1, Section 27 of the Pennsylvania Constitution, comply with ARARs, and avoid negative impacts to LVC. The total estimated PV cost of the proposed final remedial response action is $8.1M.
This notice is being provided pursuant to Section 506(b) of HSCA. The administrative record, including the Analysis of Alternatives and Proposed Response Document, which contains the information that forms the basis and documents the selection of this response action is available for public review and comment. An electronic copy of the administrative record is available to review on the DEP’s website www.dep.pa.gov/bishoptube. The hard copy of the administrative record is located at DEP’s office at 2 East Main Street, Norristown, PA 19401 and is available for review Monday through Friday from 8 am until 4 pm. Those interested in examining the Administrative Record at the DEP’s office should contact Dustin A. Armstrong at 484.250.5723 to arrange for an appointment. Additional copies of the Administrative Record are available for review at East Whiteland Township’s Municipal Building.
The administrative record will be open for comment from September 25, 2021, until January 3, 2022. Persons may submit written comments into the record during this time only by sending them by mail to Dustin A. Armstrong, Environmental Protection Specialist at the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection, 2 East Main Street, Norristown, PA 19401 or by e-mail to RA-EP-SEROECB@pa.gov. Please include ”Bishop Tube Public Comment” in the subject of the e-mail.
In addition, persons may present oral comments, for inclusion in the administrative record, at the public hearing. DEP has scheduled a Virtual Public Hearing for Tuesday, November 9, 2021, beginning at 6:30 p.m. Individuals who wish to present testimony at the virtual hearing must e-mail RA-EP-SEROECB@pa.gov a minimum of 24 hours in advance of the hearing to reserve a time to present testimony; a link will be provided upon registration. For those wishing only to listen, access information to the hearing will be posted to the Virtual Public Hearing web page found at www.dep.pa.gov (select ”Public Participation”). All comments, whether delivered orally during the virtual hearing or submitted in writing to RA-EP-SEROECB@pa.gov carry equal weight and consideration with DEP. Verbal testimony is limited to 3 minutes for each witness. Video demonstrations and screen sharing by witnesses will not be permitted. DEP asks that each organization designate one speaker per group and reminds those presenting that time may not be shared or relinquished to others. More information on DEP virtual hearings may be found on DEP’s Public Participation page, at www.dep.pa.gov (select Public Participation).
[Pa.B. Doc. No. 21-1618. Filed for public inspection September 24, 2021, 9:00 a.m.]
Ok that’s all, other than here is where you can find the above notice in native format on the Pennsylvania Bulletin website: CLICK HERE FOR DEP NOTICE.
I am beyond tired of all of the development plans. And East Whiteland Township supervisors have more of a CAN’T do versus CAN do. Two out of the three supervisors are development happy. This plan like Knickerbocker are problematic in my opinion, but East Whiteland Township said yes and always says yes to development. And I am but a mere mortal and a female, so my opinion is just that, my opinion.
People always say I hate all development and that actually is not true. We need thoughtful development that puts community first. There is nothing wrong with that notion at all. And it is possible.
Anyway, public information sharing is now over for the day.
Thanks for stopping by.
Chester County has been overrun by greedy developers. For perspective remember that size-wise Bryn Coed is like a giant super-sized Chesterbrook.
If not for those who care, like Natural Lands Trust, you would be seeing “coming soon” signs for developers like Toll Brothers.
These screen shots are from the Natural Lands Trust Bryn Coed Farms website.
Imagine living in an expansive, conserved landscape with a thriving nature preserve and miles of trails just next door. That is the unique opportunity available at Bryn Coed Farms.
In order to preserve as much of Bryn Coed Farms as possible, a number of large conservation properties will be made available to individual buyers. Each property will be placed under a conservation easement to be held and monitored by Natural Lands Trust, ensuring that the land is protected in perpetuity.
Seems like a revolutionary idea, doesn’t it? It’s not. It’s how parts of Ardrossan are staying intact in Radnor Township and it is how large swaths of countryside and history in places like England remain intact.
It is a viable solution to developing every square inch. It’s a compromise point.
Now critics will say more land should be saved with these plans and maybe they aren’t necessarily wrong , but this IS a viable compromise in my opinion.
Imagine if the Robinson Family did this at Crebilly, for example?
Or imagine if say developers who want to develop the Bishop Tube site chose a plan like this versus doing things like picking on me for wanting the best clean-up possible?
The Natural Lands Trust has once again proven, there is another way.
And speaking of Bishop Tube it is a big story in the Philadelphia Inquirer today:
by Michaelle Bond, Staff Writer @MichaelleBond | firstname.lastname@example.org
Asleep after a long day at her social-work job, Peggy Miros was jolted awake by a booming voice through a loudspeaker urging her and her neighbors to evacuate their homes.
A cloud of toxic gas had formed when chemicals accidentally combined at the steel tube manufacturer next to her housing development in East Whiteland Township, Chester County, in the early morning hours of June 9, 1981. In the sultry air, a steady southwest breeze exported the chemical mist toward General Warren Village, 500 yards away, before the cloud dissipated. Some of Miros’ neighbors went to the hospital with nausea and skin irritation…The EPA later found trichloroethylene (TCE), a degreasing agent linked to cancer, in the property’s groundwater. The former Bishop Tube Co. site, which produced stainless steel tubes from the 1950s until 1999, now is host to graffitied and dilapidated buildings, shattered windows, cracked concrete, and overgrown vegetation, one of more than 450,000 contaminated “brownfields” across the nation.
…Given the site’s history, residents are wary of plans for the property. Neighbors say they fear their families and any new residents could be harmed if workers disturb the polluted soil without removing every bit of contamination.
Last month, 40 people gathered for the first time in the home of one of their neighbors to plan a coordinated effort to oppose the project.
“These people know what they’re talking about and they have a right to be concerned,” said Maya K. van Rossum, leader of the Delaware Riverkeeper Network, who became involved after residents asked her for help.
Read the entire article. Read where the chair of the supervisors in East Whiteland says he expects the developer will get the zoning variance. That is East Whiteland’s compromise point? Gambling with people’s health and safety? (Notice you hear little to nothing out of state officials and why are these people in office again?)
And I am confused because this developer refers to his neighbors in General Warren so I have to ask does he no longer live in Lower Merion Township?
As a “newcomer” resident of Chester County, am I supposed to be the perfect Victorian woman and be seen and not heard?
No, I haven’t written lovely large checks to the wonderful and deserving East Whiteland Fire Company, does that make me a bad person?
I do not write the flyers going out. I have expressed my opinions on my blog. Opinion is not against the law is it? The First Amendment still exists right?
Maya van Rossum is one of the most ethical and dedicated and smart women I have ever met, I am honored to know her. She is the Delaware Riverkeeper and it is her job to know about these sites like Bishop Tube.
The ultimate irony for me is I am a cancer survivor. I do not wish cancer treatment on anyone. Ever. That is why TCE terrifies me. So is that making me a bad person for caring?
The other thing is I have never said don’t develop the Bishop Tube site. I have said do lots and lots of clean-up based on past news articles and other documents and things like first hand accounts from former Bishop Tube employees and why is that bad? I have said I thought it was too much proposed density and why not an alternate, non-residential use but that is my opinion, yes?
So I am sorry the developer thinks I am being unfair, I think I am being justifiably concerned, and is that bad?
Also see this:
The Delaware Riverkeeper is keeping up the pressure on the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP). Hot off the presses find these two letters:
Bishop Tube is a crazy tale that just keeps getting more interesting, doesn’t it? Trichloroethylene (TCE) is so damn toxic. Yet you have to wonder why is seems the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) seems to play dodge ball on it at Bishop Tube, right? (Here is something the EPA put out around 2015 *I think* and something else from Arizona and how NASA deals with TCE.)
Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) is the agency that is supposed to protect residents from toxic hazards, yet who is supposed to protect residents from them? I hear State Senator Dinniman’s office is starting to feel the pinch of Bishop Tube phone calls but what is he actually doing? (keep calling Phone: 610.692.2112 Fax: 610.436.1721 for West Chester PA and Phone: 717.787.5709 • Fax: 717.787.4384 for Harrisburg )
Hey Erin Brocavitch can we interest you in a little good old PA TCE????
Bishop Tube…yes…more, more, more on Bishop Tube. I do not seek information out, it finds it’s way to me. Today’s offerings are a slew of documents from the Pennsylvania DEP and other places going back into the 1990s and stopping a few years ago. People have been hanging onto stuff to save for a rainy day.
Someone said to me these few documents tell a story – and can you imagine all the documents we will probably NEVER see on Bishop Tube?
Anyway, after wading through these documents the story being told to me is someone should have cleaned this place up already, and why isn’t this on the EPA’s radar?
Since someone dropped a little “sunshine” in my lap, I am paying it forward and putting them out there. Just for the record I am not trying to be another Erin Brocavitch. This stuff just found it’s way to me…..
And always interesting? Old invoices Old Bishop Tube and Related Invoices
Hot off the presses from The Delaware Riverkeeper! The Delaware Riverkeeper is urging residents to act now, and send letters as per below instructions to state officials – elected and appointed.
Dinniman’s West Chester office is 610-692-2112 and his fax is 610-436-1721
Dinniman’s Harrisburg office is 717-787-5709 and his fax is 717-787-4384
Milne’s Malvern office is 610-251-1070 and his fax is 610-251-1074
Milne’s Harrisburg office is 717-787-8579 and his fax is 717-787-1295
HERE IS A SAMPLE LETTER YOU CAN PERSONALIZE AND SEND TO DINNIMAN OR MILNE WHICH ANOTHER RESIDENT HAS GRACIOUSLY SHARED:
East Whiteland has a meeting this week where Bishop Tube will be discussed- Wednesday, March 22, 2017 at 7:30 PM. It is the Planning Commission. Same meeting room as the Zoning and Board of Supervisors. 209 Conestoga Road, Frazer, PA 19355.
Residents need to pack the boardroom again. I know, I know it’s like a part time job but it is important that every board hear residents with their own ears, and you have a finite amount of time to be heard.
In advance of the East Whiteland Zoning Hearing Board hearing continuation which will occur on Wednesday, March 15, 2017 at 7:15 PM at East Whiteland Township 209 Conestoga Road, Frazer, PA 19355 unless it gets rescheduled due to weather please see letter sent to the Zoning Hearing Board – YES that is a year typo in the letter, it happens. (Also read about Bishop Tube on Delaware Riverkeeper website HERE)
East Whiteland residents are so incredibly fortunate that Maya the Delaware Riverkeeper has taken an interest here (letter uploaded here to this website Delaware Riverkeeper Network ZHB letter 3.15.17 DRN comment with Attachments ).
Don’t just take my word, or the word of in many cases ill former Bishop Tube workers or General Warren Village residents, take the word of EXPERTS.
Bishop Tube is a site that could be redeveloped, but in my personal opinion with much less density AND after serious not minimal remediation, but again why not check with experts who are obviously concerned with this? Read what the expert says in the letter above…
Hey media, what are you waiting for? Maybe you all can get the DEP to come out of the shadows here? I still do not understand what it is they have actually done and what they are supposed to do? And why hasn’t more clean up been done since they announced they were watching it? Isn’t that like the DEP is looking the either way?
And again…..just so we are clear – I am not adverse to the site being developed with following caveats: (1) much less density and preferably a different and non-residential use (2) AFTER a lot more remediation than has been discussed – as in not just the soil being removed and replaced but dealing with the groundwater issues, right?
Also, for once the residents of General Warren should be taken into consideration, shouldn’t they? And the potential health, safety, and welfare of potential future residents?
One General Warren resident said the other day:
Just hiked the stream between Bishop Tube and General Warren Village. Our township officials need to go back and seriously look at what they are considering before approving.
All the promises by the township that Village Way will be nothing more than “emergency access” are likely alternative facts. Not like a bed of stone will be laid to provide this access. They will build a bridge. I really do not believe that type of investment will be made and not used. Maybe the township needs to consider access coming off of Three Tun Rd and coming in behind the oil company. The train bridge going into BT is posted 12’10” built in 1915 and visually crumbling. I can’t imaging how they will get in the equipment to tear down BT under that bridge or any other large construction equipment. Sure 2 vehicles can pass under this bridge but what about the 500/600 people who end up living back in there, how will they walk to the Giant? I didn’t measure but I can’t imaging a sidewalk under the bridge. Build your development and keep the Village out of it. Stop the bridge into Village Way.
Someone responded to that resident with:
What also cracks me up, because you know this won’t be in the brochure, I read in some document they are planning to put some type of vapor chimney in the units. Not for our common Radon issue, but for any other vapor release from the chemicals left in the ground at Bishop Tube. WTH???
Another resident said elsewhere:
We need it cleaned up right before building starts and that includes the groundwater below where the TCE now is !
There has also been a lot of chatter about the developer leaving if they do not get zoning variance but does zoning variance get groundwater remediation, etc??? I think the developer will get the variance in the end. I see it getting set up for a softball in the meeting replay of the recent supervisors’ meeting. But when Bill Holmes said it isn’t the end of it, he is right BUT residents with standing (General Warren) have to keep going to meetings because that is HOW you will get the site cleaned and get DEP to move.
I have to be honest that while I have issues with the developer and serious issues with the density of the development plan (even if it wasn’t being built on a toxic waste dump of a land parcel), where the issues never abate and concerns continue to grow is with the Pennsylvania DEP. They are the constant from day 1 with Bishop Tube. So that being said, residents need to go to meetings and call the DEP (717) 783-2300 is the main number in Harrisburg. (484) 250-5900 is the number to the Southeast regional office in Norristown. And keep calling State Senator Dinniman’s and State Rep Duane Milne’s offices too.
WATCH THE EAST WHITELAND MEETING – [CLICK HERE] Start watching somewhere around 20 minutes in. Are supervisors prepared to cave no matter what the risks to current and future residents? And DEP? Where is the DEP…..thank goodness for Environmental Action Committee because they at least seem to be in the residents’ corner, right? Seriously, does East Whiteland need Erin Brocavitch?
The PA DEP seems to say a lot about what they will not do, but I ask about what they should have been doing all along? Anderson Hartzell is the acting director of PA DEP in our area now, but no one has ever clarified the rather mysterious and abrupt departure of Cosmo Servidio in the fall? And remember how Limerick residents complained about the PA DEP being slow to act in 2010?
Read an old article from 1989 from the Washington Post called Forging a Covenant of Silence . Here is an excerpt:
WEBSTER, N.Y. — There are three vacant houses on the 600 block of Salt Road in this community east of Rochester, and those who live on the street wonder why their neighbors moved out and no one else has moved in. “All of a sudden I saw a moving van moving one family out,” said Ray Gerber, who lives several hundred feet north of the cluster of empty houses, now owned by Xerox Corp. “I worry about it.” “We’re in the dark,” said Grace Krasucki, another Salt Road resident. The empty houses — the result of a secret and costly legal battle — stand as a testament to the growing use of secrecy procedures in the nation’s civil courts and how that secrecy is hampering efforts by scientists and health officials to learn more about hazardous chemicals and their effects….In the fall of 1984, construction workers at the Xerox complex discovered discolored water during excavation. Xerox later learned that 63 pounds of trichloroethylene (known as TCE), a solvent used in cleaning and lubricating machinery, had leaked over a period of years from four underground storage tanks…. In addition to faulting Xerox for the TCE contamination, attorneys for the families alleged that their clients’ health had been affected by airborne emissions from the plant. According to sources familiar with the case, tests in the houses showed traces of a TCE derivative in the basements and the sump pumps. They also showed residues of two other toxic chemicals, styrene and selenium, in the soot that coated lawn furniture, the walls of their homes and their car windows.
I would be curious if the builder on this (Benson) actually has brownfield development experience? And wow check out the Google reviews. Not positive but then again these are the people who said let us build townhouses behind Linden Hall and we will restore Linden Hall, right? And what happened? Sold the land with approved plans and Linden Hall just sits and continues to rot, right? And then there is that whole thing brewing in Tredyffrin about Howellville, right? And the whole Kimberton Meadows saga which seems to persist?
Here – Kimberton Meadows saga worth reading about if they are slated to be builders of Bishop Tube’s new lemming village:
The group of homeowners says the development is not moving forward.
Now that got your attention, didn’t it? Calling Erin Brockovich?
Is that what Bishop Tube needs to get to the truth of that site?
I am waiting to see the meeting recording and for those in attendance to send me notes, but here are the comments of someone who was there, someone who spoke, and most importantly? Someone who worked there.
You see the people who worked there literally know where the proverbial, in this case chemical, bodies are buried. They also say dead men tell no tales except people talk about all of the time what happened to people who worked at Bishop Tube, lived next to Bishop Tube, worked around the TCE and whatever else at Bishop Tube, right?
So here, read these words. They are not my words. They are a powerful first hand account- when East Whiteland posts their meeting video (here is the channel of past meetings) it will be added to the post so it is irrefutable. This is also one of the people who has spoken to the media before – and who is extensively quoted in that Daily Local article written by Anne Pickering in 2007:
These gentlemen who worked at Bishop Tube have spoken their same truth consistently for years so I do not get how people have never heard about the above until last night? I spoke to one of the gentlemen yesterday and he’s sick. Bishop Tube poisoned these guys, so to me, if I was an elected official or some big mahatma with the Pennsylvania DEP, I would listen and act, but have they? Will they? Shouldn’t they?
So, if the developer can’t get what he wants (variance) he will pick up his proverbial ball and head back home on the Main Line or whatever? Is that what I am understanding? Even though when he bought the land circa 2005 he agreed to clean it up jointly with the PA DEP?
In 2005, Brian O’Neill of O’Neill Property Group purchased the site for $700,000 through his affiliate, Constitution Drive Partners, and signed an agreement with the state Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) to jointly clean it up. The plan is to keep the buildings and convert it for light industrial use.
I also have questions about the state of the art vapor mitigation system which people at the East Whiteland meeting were told last night remediated all that developer was required to do? Is this the air something (can’t remember the word) system that was designed by a company in Chadds Ford? The piece of equipment that someone said is broken and hasn’t worked in like 3 or 4 years? Is this what the DEP told the developer to do – to stop, they had done their part and the DEP was then supposed to come onsite to do more remediation only they never did?
I think this is related to an article I found from July 2014 that sometimes only shows up on a web cache:
Law360, Philadelphia (July 18, 2014, 5:09 PM EDT) — A Pennsylvania court ruled Thursday that the owner of a contaminated tract of Chester County land could not appeal a Department of Environmental Protection letter ending an agreement in which the landowner agreed to take measures to rehabilitate the site in exchange for protection from liability.
The Pennsylvania Environmental Hearing Board said that the letter the DEP sent to Constitution Drive Partners LP — which purchased the site of a former precious metals and steel processing facility in 2005 — was not appealable because the letter itself had no effect on the company….When CDP bought the former Bishop Tube site in East Whiteland Township, it reached an agreement with DEP to take certain steps to remediate the existing soil and groundwater contamination, according to the opinion.
Then, in 2011, an independent contractor hired by CDP damaged piping and protective covering on a soil vapor extraction and air sparging system while conducting salvage operations on the site.
According to the opinion, CDP said that DEP had agreed that the repairs could be delayed until DEP was prepared to operate the system or the company intended to start redevelopment work on the site.
But in January, DEP sent the company the letter citing the 2011 damage and accusing the company of breaking the 2005 agreement.
Maybe I am just a simple person and I don’t get it. But what I don’t get is how so many people seem to know how deadly the toxic Bishop Tube site is? Is it the township doesn’t have to know where all of the contamination points are because that is the responsibility of the builder and/or developer? But what I don’t get about that is if the township is approving plans, aren’t they supposed to know all of these details to make the most educated decision possible? After all don’t taxpayers pay for the experts and solicitors to in fact know all of this?
What happens here if the remediation is not right? In addition to health, safety, and welfare down the road, what about the economic impact? As in future litigation on a toxic site that could bankrupt a small township?
Where oh where is the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection in all of this? The good old PA DEP with the following mission statement right off their website:
The Department of Environmental Protection’s mission is to protect Pennsylvania’s air, land and water from pollution and to provide for the health and safety of its citizens through a cleaner environment. We will work as partners with individuals, organizations, governments and businesses to prevent pollution and restore our natural resources.
The above is their mission, they chose to accept it. So where in the heck are they? They have all of these side conversations with officials and developers and even residents, but are they like the CIA or something? Why don’t they come out of the shadows and into the light and tell us about their perspective on Bishop Tube? People like sunshine, right?
Why is it there has never, ever been a town hall meeting in East Whiteland with the PA DEP and out State Representative Duane Milne and State Senator Andy Dinniman and the developer about this? I have wanted to ask Andy Dinniman’s office staff this, but two phone calls and one e-mail within the last week have never been responded to. (Which of course is not satisfactory in the least, nor is it acceptable, is it?)
Here is the list of executive staff of the PA DEP (CLICK HERE) . The Acting Secretary is Patrick McDonnell and of course because he doesn’t actually wish to deal with the public you can’t email him off his page. But you can read about him on Marcellus Drilling News.
As a matter of fact, it seems that the PA DEP doesn’t want anyone to readily have access to email addresses to their staff, does it? So I was googling and found this name and address. Would they be helpful at Bishop Tube:
Stephan Sinding, ManagerEnvironmental Cleanup & Brownfield Program484-250-5716
Regional OfficesThe Environmental Cleanup and Brownfields program is responsible for the implementation of the Land Recycling Program and its affiliated procedures and policies through the following six regional offices.Southeast Regional Office
Thomas Canigiani, Program Manager
Environmental Cleanup and Brownfields
Southeast Regional Office
2 East Main St.
Norristown, PA 19401
Dustin Armstrong, Environmental Cleanup and Brownfields Program, Southeast Regional Office, 2 East Main Street, Norristown, PA 19401, email@example.comWritten comments for the removal of the Chem Fab Site should be submitted to Colin Wade, Environmental Cleanup and Brownfields Program, Southeast Regional Office, 2 East Main Street, Norristown, PA 19401, firstname.lastname@example.org
So could the guy who is acting head of PA DEP have an e-mail as simple as email@example.com ?
Perhaps in an effort to be fair, we should NOT just throw everything regarding Bishop Tube on the developer because can’t it be said culpability also lies with the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection too?
Here are a couple of basic numbers:
General Information Main Switchboard and 24-hour Emergency number 484 250-5900 Environmental Complaints, weekdays 484 250-5991 File Reviews 484 250-5910 Fax Main 484 250-5914
The Director’s Office is 484-250-5942.
PA DEP, come on down. Don’t be shy. Tell the good people of General Warren Village and the residents of East Whiteland Township and the residents of Chester County where you all as the agency set up to protect us are on Bishop Tube remediation, ok? The time for contemplation of the proverbial navel is over, you need to stand up and tell us all the truth, or shall we say some facsimile of the above?
As a community we need to talk about what Bishop Tube has done to residents and former workers, don’t we? Isn’t that the responsible, ethical, moral thing to do before a development gets built and people live there??? Make those companies that were there onsite pay for what happened? If those old companies are forced to pay up then doesn’t remediation happen, developer gets to build, people can be safe, affected people can get care? As in everybody is happy?
Remember these thoughts with regard to Bishop Tube:
Apparently, TCE is a non-aqueous (will not dissolve in water) liquid that is more dense than water and will sink through the soils and water and continue to penetrate further into the ground. Remediation of it requires more work than something simple like a gasoline spill. I would assume that means that means that even going 12 feet down may not be an acceptable fix given the length of time that the spills have been there.
Given the fact that this is a hillside community there is a significant concern of offsite contamination since this stuff travels downhill.
The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection needs to man and woman up and come forward and speak to people about this out in the open. After all have they or have they not been in part guiding this developer/property owner since they acquired this property in 2005? The DEP can’t just sit behind the scenes talking with this person and that person any longer. This needs to be out in the open. That way there is a level playing field for East Whiteland, residents of General Warren Village, former employees of Bishop Tube, potential future residents of East Whiteland who might move to new townhouses constructed on the site, and the developer.
Residents are legitimately upset, the developer wants his project to move forward. People want a safe project from embryo stages to completed development and beyond. People want proper remediation, right? Time for the PA DEP to step up, right? Time for State Representatives and State Senators in the area to step up as well, right?
Call the PA DEP. Call Dinniman and Milne. Call the media outlets and ask them to contact all of them.
Yes, you can safely remediate brownfields sites. It is just knowing publicly what exactly is going on and what can be done. And shouldn’t the PA DEP just clean up this site once and for all anyway? Don’t they have the ability to do so? And lest we forget, the developer did not cause the contamination, manufacturing companies/concerns did. The cause of the contamination is apparent, it is the rest which is always murky.
And don’t sit there reading this post and call people NIMBY (Not in My Back Yard.) People have good reason to be scared of this site. And all anyone has ever wanted is for this site to be cleaned up. It’s not the simplistic blanket knee jerk reaction that people are anti-development. They want the site cleaned up.
And if there are kids still getting back there into Bishop Tube and homeless people, are they really safe? Kids are our future. Doing something on a lark might have consequences when they are adults, right?