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?
Allow me to quote (again) one of the more comprehensive articles ever written about the site that was in the Daily Local about the deadly history of Bishop Tube:
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:
Pa. Court Says Landowner Can’t Appeal DEP Agreement’s End
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.
And I found the The Pennsylvania Environmental Hearing Board docket sheet on the case, as well as final opinion and order which I downloaded (and uploaded here: Case Number 2014019)
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, Manager
Environmental Cleanup & Brownfield Program
Or perhaps this person?
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, firstname.lastname@example.org
Written 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, email@example.com
So could the guy who is acting head of PA DEP have an e-mail as simple as firstname.lastname@example.org ?
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 is the Southeast region phone directory:
Here are a couple of basic numbers:
|Main Switchboard and 24-hour Emergency number
|Environmental Complaints, weekdays
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?