The state has told the owner of the former Jeannette Glass plant to dispose of several hundred gallons of PCB-contaminated oil from electrical transformers or face environmental violations, a Department of Environmental Protection official said.
Three transformers containing potentially cancer-causing polychlorinated biphenyls remain on the property despite orders from the state to dispose of them, said John Poister of the DEP.
Project manager Frank Trigona, who works for Jeannette Bullitt Avenue LLC, which is owned by Abe Zion of New York, said test results have varied on the amount of contaminants. Until he can get an exact determination, Trigona said he doesn't know how or where he will dispose of the oil.
Trigona said he told the DEP he hasn't removed the transformers, "Only because I don't know where to send them." Depending on the amount of PCBs in the oil, the contaminants must be incinerated at a special facility in West Virginia or buried in a landfill specially permitted to handle the waste. Several on-site tests were done and the results of each varied, Trigona said.
"I'm waiting for another test. The DEP is aware of that," he said. "There's no danger or anything. They've been here for 30 years."
Until 1979, when the chemical was banned in the United States, PCBs were mixed with mineral oil for use as a fire retardant in electrical transformers, according to the Environmental Protection Agency. There are 200 gallons of oil in each transformer, Trigona said.
Trigona said remediation work at the site has stopped, along with demolition of the buildings.
"We're tying up loose ends. Most of the remediation is done," he said.
Poister said there still are nonhazardous wastes on site including oil, contaminated rags and paint cans that must be disposed of. There is waste contained in silos in a building known as the "batch house" where chemicals were mixed for glass making, he said.
"There's still some work to do," Poister added. "They just have to catch up with the other stuff. We're a little peeved that this hasn't been done. We're not sure if a notice of violation will be filed. We're urging them to keep going."
Trigona said the contractor has stopped working because Zion doesn't have the money to do more.
"The city wants us to make it pretty. Zion said he doesn't have the money to make it pretty," Trigona said.
The city, state and Westmoreland County have negotiated with Zion since 1983, first in an effort to get him to reopen the glass-making facility as he initially planned to do and later to clean up the site.
This article was written by Channel 11’s news exchange partners at TribLIVE.