bishop tube in malvern up for huge residential development – discussion at east whiteland meeting july 22nd
My late father always told me that I should check the Saturday papers for news that is meant to escape most and that if someone wants to slip important things past a populous, do it in the dead of summer.
Maybe it is just a coincidence, but one of the most notorious toxic waste sites around is being discussed in East Whiteland Township tomorrow, July 22nd – Bishop Tube on Malin Road in Frazer:
EAST WHITELAND TOWNSHIP
REVISED MEETING AGENDA
July 22, 2015
Workshop – 7:00 p.m.…
Public Meeting – 7:30 p.m.
4. Malin Road Development – former Bishop Tube Site – Sketch Plan
S. Malin Rd & Route 30 – RRD – Residential Revitalization
District – to permit 264 townhouses
Ok yes, it is abandoned. I assume these buildings are still there? I have never gone back there. But I remember reading about this site dating back to the 1980s and 1990s.
As a matter of fact and more than a little alarming is the fact that a law suit was filed this past April as in 2015 about Bishop Tube. And it has been closed, empty, abandoned for YEARS now, right?
Of course this never made the news around here did it? Or was it some little tiny mention that evaporated?Homeowners allege leeching of hazardous chemicals into aquifer under home Monday, Apr 20, 2015 @ 1:27pm by Dan Harkins PennRecord.com
Bradley and Paula Gay Warren filed a lawsuit filed April 19 in U.S. District Court Eastern District of Pennsylvania against: Johnson Matthey Inc.; Bishop Tire Co.; Whittaker Corp.; Christiana Metals Corp.; Central and Western Chester County Industrial Development Authority; Electralloy Corp.; Marcegaglia SPA; Marcegaglia USA Inc.; and Constitution Drive Partners. According to the lawsuit ….the defendants used and disposed the environment of hazardous chemicals, including trichloroethylene, during the manufacturing of seamless stainless steel and other products.
“As a result of the defendants’ ownership and operations at the Bishop Tube site,” the lawsuit states, “hazardous substances, including TCE, were disposed into the environment, including the Bishop Tube site’s soils and groundwater. Subsurface migration of contaminated groundwater from the Bishop Tube site has and continues to contaminate the aquifer beneath the Bishop Tube site and beneath off-site premises including the plaintiffs’ home.”
In 1980, the lawsuit states, the Bishop Tube site was included in a liability information list by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. The Warrens seek the court’s assistance in making Bishop Tube’s subsequent owners “prevent any further endangerment and also all costs, including attorney and expert witness fees.”
Ok so can they go forward with land development discussions while litigation like this is pending? And read what the article is saying.
Bishop Tube was something I was aware of before I lived out here. They were marked by the EPA in 1980 , and was mentioned in an article in 1992 in the Philadelphia Inquirer when President George Bush (as in the father) was in the area touring tube plants.
Then in 2007 there was an article in The Daily LocalBishop Tube facility started in 1951, now abandoned
EAST WHITELAND — The Bishop Tube Co., now abandoned, is located on a 13-acre tract off Malin Road south of Business Route 30. It started operations at the site in 1951 manufacturing platinum and other precious metals as well as stainless steel. The plant was classified as a redraw mill that reduced stainless steel tubes to specific diameters.
The plant came to the attention of state environmental regulators in 1972, when high levels of flouride were detected in Little Valley Creek, a stream that flows next to the plant, and was later traced to discharges from the plant. There were two operations at the plant that utilized hazardous chemicals in large quantities in the manufacturing of stainless steel tubing.
One was the pickling operation that used nitric acid, hydrofluoric acid and other acids and the other was the degreasing operation that used trichlorethylene (TCE). In the pickling operation, the stainless steel was immersed in large tanks of acid to clean it prior to fabrication. The degreasing was a final step and the finished pipe was immersed in a large vat of TCE, a solvent, to remove grease….
In a 1985 report by a firm hired by Christiana, BCM Inc., one of the earliest reports in the DEP’s files, the company found TCE in groundwater up to 20,120 parts per billion. After the plant was abandoned in 1999 and the state started its own investigation, it found TCE in groundwater at greater than 1,000,000 parts per billion, according to a 2002 Baker Environmental Inc. report.
Trichlorethylene is one of the most pervasive pollutants found in contaminated sites across the country. According to the U.S. Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR)
Ok so I found this report online from I think ATSDR:
On June 11, 2007, ATSDR received a petition to conduct “public health assessment activities” for the community surrounding the former Bishop Tube manufacturing facility in East Whiteland Township, Pennsylvania…..The 13.7 acre Bishop Tube site (Site) is located on the east side of Malin Road, south of US Route 30, in Frazier, East Whiteland Township, Chester County, Pennsylvania….
…..In June 2007, East Whiteland Township petitioned ATSDR requesting that the agency perform a “public health assessment” to gauge the impact the former Bishop Tube manufacturing facility has had on the health of former employees and residents who live in the neighborhood surrounding the facility. ATSDR spoke with a former Bishop Tube employee that worked at the facility as a mill wright and in plant maintenance. He reported experiencing acute TCE toxicity symptoms, including a “drunk feeling” and a tingly feeling on his skin.
This former employee is now being treated for asthma which he never suffered from before. ATSDR did refer the former employee and an additional former employee to the regional Association of Occupational and Environmental Clinics (AOEC) at the University of Pennsylvania for expertise in environmental and occupational health medicine. This former employee also informed ATSDR that (1) many employees from the facility have nueromuscular conditions and cancer, (2) his father worked at the facility and has Parkinson’s disease and respiratory problems, and, (3) hydrofluoric acid and nitric acid fumes were a problem at the site, in addition to asbestos in piping and the poor ventilation at the facility.
[READ ENTIRE REPORT BY CLICKING HERE:ATSDR Report on Bishop Tube]
So…Ok look but the thing is this – that health report thing says a LOT about Bishop Tube. The site has been targeted as toxic and been investigated a bunch of time since 1972 correct? A cancer cluster was alleged in March 2007 by the community correct? Community folks reported 1-2 cancer cases in every household correct? A plume of contaminants from on-site has spread and is in the groundwater and local wells, correct? A creek flows through there. Traces of the crud have been discovered a mile away, correct? There has been activity to clean up the contaminants at the site, but is it REALLY complete? Until it is complete, crud will continue to move in the plume, correct?
Ok so in 2008 another article was in the local papers – here it is in The PhoenixEx-owner agrees to clean up Bishop Tube site
The state Department of Environmental Protection has been pursuing former owners of the now-defunct plant to get them to pay for cleanup of the soil and groundwater at the heavily contaminated site….Johnson Matthey operated at the site in the 1960s and sold the plant in 1969. The company no longer manufactures stainless-steel tubing.
….In the course of stainless-steel tube manufacturing, TCE was used as a degreaser. At the time, it was thought to be harmless, but it leached into the groundwater and soil over the years and contaminated area wells. Everyone in the vicinity has municipal water. One family down from Bishop Tube drank the contaminated well water for a number of years before a filter was installed.
A connection between cancer and exposure to TCE is suspected but not proven, according to the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry, a federal public health agency.
The current clean water standard for TCE is five parts per billion.
Tests of groundwater at Bishop Tube have found levels of TCE as great at 20,000 parts per billion. The levels of TCE in Little Valley Creek are thought to be between 30 parts per billion and 70 parts per billion…..
Then after that I can’t find much. I found photos of the site mostly on Abandoned But Not Forgotten. I found them in 2005 litigation involving Action Manufacturing v. Simon Wrecking Co. and listed on a website that lists Superfund Sites. There was an article in 2011 in Patch discussing putting playing fields on the Bishop Tube site
The EPA had a report in 2008 . And then I saw it pop up in a DVPRC Malin Road Extension Feasibility Study in 2010.
Now they did show up in an Uptown Worthington Tax Increment Funding or “TIF” Proposal on East Whiteland’s website from 2008:
TIF equates to what are you going to give a developer in breaks to build:
Tax increment financing, or TIF, is a public financing method that is used as a subsidy for redevelopment, infrastructure, and other community-improvement projects in many countries, including the United States. Similar or related value capture strategies are used around the world.
So look, I don’t know about you but a sketch plan with this description for THIS site makes me nervous:
Malin Road Development – former Bishop Tube Site – Sketch Plan
S. Malin Rd & Route 30 – RRD – Residential Revitalization District – to permit 264 townhouses
I have heard long term residents say this site shouldn’t be developed and well, yeah I concur. What the heck does East Whiteland need with another 264 townhouses on top of all the other development coming down the pike? Especially HERE?
And again, if there is active and current litigation involving this site and the heath hazards how is this even progressing right now?
If you live near Bishop Tube, I hope you attend the meeting. Anyone living in East Whiteland should contemplate attending. This is not a site where they can pour concrete on the ground and say all contaminants are capped. It might not mean anything to us in our lifetimes, but as a society of human beings I think we owe it to future residents to voice concern.
As a cancer survivor this is a very real fear: to move into an area with a lot of Super Fund sites that aren’t really all settled and cleaned up. When is the last time anything was comprehensively tested at Bishop Tube?
Constitution Drive Partners is owner by a GP named CONSTITUTION DRIVE PARTNERS ACQUISITION CORPORATION . This entity of course is in actually part of what? O’Neill Properties? Doesn’t this company have enough empty units to fill at that Royal Worthington in the back of Uptown Worthington with that million dollar view of Route 202?Pa. Court Says Landowner Can’t Appeal DEP Agreement’s End
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….The case is Constitution Drive Partners LLC v. Commonwealth of Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection, case number 2014-019-M, in the Environmental Hearing Board.For Bishop Tube workers, danger lurked for decades
Second of two parts
EAST WHITELAND — Keith Hartman and Dave Worst have many things in common.
They were both born in the 1950s, two years apart. They both grew up in General Warren Village, the modest, working class subdivision located south of Lancaster Avenue near the intersection of Route 29, and named for the historic General Warren Inne.
Like many of their neighbors in General Warren, Hartman and Worst worked at the nearby Bishop Tube Co.
Most significantly, the two men know of former Bishop employees who suffer from potentially fatal illnesses that they believe may have been caused by their exposure to trichlorethylene (TCE), a suspected carcinogen, during their tenure at the plant….
Hartman and Worst can also run off a list of fellow Bishop Tube workers who either died from cancer or nerve diseases, or currently suffer from them.
“The sad thing is I wish we knew then what we know now,” said Hartman in a recent interview.
Over the past several months, the Daily Local News has examined the story of a former manufacturing plant that has left a legacy of pollution in East Whiteland.
The Bishop Tube Co. was a plant that was abandoned by its owner possibly because of fear over liability for the pollution it created….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.Katz seeks to build sports center in Chester County By Susan Weidener and Sandy Bauers INQUIRER STAFF WRITERS
Posted: March 21, 2001
Using public and private financing, a development company owned by Sam Katz, the former Philadelphia mayoral candidate, wants to build a $17 million sports center on a contaminated industrial site along Route 30 in Chester County.
The center, with ice-skating rinks, indoor soccer fields and a wellness center, would be on the former Bishop Tube manufacturing site in Frazer, in East Whiteland Township.
Abandoned two years ago, the 17-acre property – a brownfield, or environmentally contaminated site – is near the Route 202 high-tech corridor….
Katz would set up a nonprofit, tax-exempt entity that would qualify for public money, including low-interest loans or bonds and grants, to clean up the site and build the facility……This is the first brownfield site Katz has proposed developing.
The land would remain in the hands of the Central and Western Chester County Industrial Development Authority (IDA), an affiliate of the Chester County Development Council, a private, nonprofit organization………
East Whiteland is the only township in Chester County with a building moratorium. The 18-month moratorium is set to expire in February 2002. Township officials declined to comment on the Katz project, saying that they had not heard about it nor seen the proposal.
East Whiteland experienced its peak growth in the 1950s. In the last 10 years, census figures show, the population has grown 11 percent, from 8,398 to 9,333.
If the sports facility were built, it probably would draw from an area much wider than the township…..
Robins said planners envisioned a state-of-the art building, designed with “green technology,” incorporating recycled materials, passive heating and other techniques that would “have a minimum impact on the environment.”
“What we like is, one, here’s a site that for the most part, is a scar on the environment. By making it a green building, not only do we correct that imbalance, but we also take it to the positive side. The building starts to give back,” Robins said.