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Silberline takes steps to clean up leak at plant

  • CHRIS PARKER/TIMES NEWS Silberline Manufacturing Co.'s Lansford plant.
    CHRIS PARKER/TIMES NEWS Silberline Manufacturing Co.'s Lansford plant.
Published February 03. 2010 05:00PM

Efforts are continuing to measure and clean up industrial solvents that leaked at a Silberline Manufacturing Co. plant in the Panther Valley Industrial Park in Lansford in 2007.

The company has taken steps to clean up the leak, and has drilled monitoring wells to determine the scope of the leak and whether it has filtered into groundwater.

Silberline Health, Safety and Environmental Officer Joseph Monkiewicz did not return a call to his office Tuesday.

The state Department of Environmental Protection expects to receive a site characterization report this week that will give the agency more details to determine what the next steps should be, said DEP spokesman Mark Carmon.

Carmon said Silberline voluntarily began cleanup and monitoring efforts as soon as it discovered the leak.

"They've installed monitoring wells and put carbon treatment in streams on the property," Carmon said. "DEP is working with the company."

The agency has recommended that Silberline drill more and deeper wells to monitor the spread of the solvents, trichloroethylene and perchloroethylene, Carmon said.

DEP's "initial involvement started in 2007. We were never able to determine the actual source of the leak. We're hoping some of this deep well data will give us" more details, he said.

It is not known how much of the fluid leaked, or from where.

"It did impact ground water," Carmon said. He said shallow ground water and springs on the three-acre site were affected.

The deep wells will let DEP know whether aquifers deep in the ground were also contaminated.

The borough of Lansford has until March 2 to submit a request to be involved in the development of remediation and re-use plans for the site, at 201 Dock St.

The borough may also submit a request to Silberline to develop and implement a public involvement plan. The public is also invited to submit comments.

Copies of the comments and requests should also be submitted to DEP's Northeast Regional Office at 2 Public Square Wilkes-Barre, PA 18711.

If the cleanup meets government standards, DEP will issue Silberline a release from liability, Carmon said.

According to a public notice that the company intends to remediate the site, published Monday by DEP in the TIMES NEWS, Silberline manufactured and stored aluminum pigments at the site since 1963. Formerly, the site housed a railroad yard, a machine shop, a lamp factory, and a shoe manufacturer.

Soil and ground water at the site were found to contain volatile organic compounds and fuel oil-related hydrocarbons.

The proposed remediation measures may include removing the substances, or treating the soil and ground water.

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