Company can use demolition material from plant in N.J.
By KENT JACKSON firstname.lastname@example.org
A company reclaiming mineland in Hazleton with dredged material from Fort Mifflin in Philadelphia now has permission to import brick, block and soil from a chemical plant in Philipsburg, N.J.
Hazleton Creek Properties received approval to use demolition material from the Mallinckrodt Baker plant in Phillipsburg on the site of a proposed amphitheater in Hazleton.
The material comes from three buildings razed in September, Hazleton Creek said when asking the state Department of Environmental Protection to approve the new source.
Hazleton Creek has approval to use more than 410,000 cubic yards of construction and demolition material at the site under terms of a general permit that DEP issued statewide.
The permit requires Hazleton Creek to notify DEP of new sources of material 10 days in advance, and the company gave notice on Jan. 4.
DEP spokesman Mark Carmon, telephoned on Friday, said the request to use material from Mallinckrodt Baker was approved.
According to papers submitted to DEP, Mallinckrodt Baker took core samples from the buildings, pulverized the concrete and tested the powder for contamination.
Before the tests, the company identified the following nine chemicals that it suspected would have contaminated the buildings: ammonia nitrogen, methanol, n-hexane, ethyl ether, ethyl acetate, acetonitrile, formic acid and herbicides known as 24-D, and 245 TP.
"Under certain circumstances," DEP Environmental Chemist Paul Jarecki wrote after reviewing the information about Mallinckrodt Baker, "the release of these substances may produce soil, which is hazardous waste."
His written message on Jan. 10, which is included in the Hazleton Creek file at DEP, also said many contamination events might have occurred at Mallinckrodt Baker.
Based on test results, five areas were excluded from the material to be transported to Hazleton.
Three of them contained excessive amounts of cobalt, an element in vitamin B-12 that can cause heart and lung problems in large quantities, the U.S. Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry said in a fact sheet. An isotope, cobalt 60, is radioactive and used in medical tests, but the information submitted to DEP didn't say whether the cobalt at Mallinckrodt Baker was cobalt 60.
In two other areas, stains of copper and an unidentified substance on the building walls at Mallinckrodt Baker made those sections unfit for use in Hazleton.
J.T. Baker started a chemical manufacturing plant in Phillipsburg in 1904, and the name changed after acquisition by Mallinckrodt, a division of Tyco Healthcare.
Under a consent agreement with the New Jersey DEP, Mallinckrodt Baker for several years has been remediating 15 areas of contaminated soil and two areas of contaminated ground water.
The material coming to Hazleton contains material clean and suitable for recycling under New Jersey standards, the documents on file at the Pennsylvania DEP say, except for one area containing beryllium.
Beryllium dust can cause a sometimes fatal lung condition and federal agencies strictly regulate the traces of the metal permitted in the air.
For beryllium in New Jersey, the Remediation Residential Direct Contact Standard is 2 parts per million. The sample contained 3 ppm.
In Pennsylvania, the permit that Hazleton Creek is following allows for 320 ppm of beryllium in fill material.
Whether the material containing beryllium will come to Hazleton was unclear.
Documents say Mallinckrodt Baker wants to satisfy the Pennsylvania and New Jersey environmental departments, but New Jersey might relax its standard for beryllium to 16 ppm.
Consultants for Hazleton Creek didn't know what would happen with the material containing beryllium, and Mallinckrodt Baker's environmental engineer did not return a telephone message on Friday afternoon.
The beryllium was found in a section of Building 150, one of the trio razed last fall.
Less than 200 cubic yards of material will come to Hazleton from the walls and foundation of Building 150.
Another 1,600 cubic yards will come from Building 151, which was built in the 1930s of concrete and clay walls on a concrete foundation and had become structurally unsound.
The third building demolished at the plant housed emergency response vehicles and had steel walls and structure on a concrete foundation.