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EPA opens groundwater treatment plant at Chem-Fab Superfund site


The heavily contaminated groundwater at the Chem-Fab Superfund Site on North Broad Street will now be treated at a newly completed plant a short distance from the property in Doylestown Township.

Officials from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced the opening of the multi-million dollar facility Friday.

Pointing to a row of enormous, green tanks and an array of pumps and other equipment, Bob Stank, the EPA’s remedial project manager, said the facility will “test, test and test” the water before discharging it into Cooks Run, a tributary of the Neshaminy Creek in the township.

Stank called the treatment center “a great success” that began construction in July 2021, when the COVID-19 pandemic was still a major concern. He credited “community engagement,” support from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the EPA’s team of experts.

State Sen. Steve Santarsiero, D-10, who attended the opening, applauded Pres. Joe Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law. Nearly $3 million, one of the first projects to receive BIL funds, helped move the treatment center forward, the EPA said. While repairing roads and bridges is critical, Sanatrsiero said, “cleanup of environmental hazards” is also needed.

“By expediting these cleanups, we’re ensuring the protection of affected communities and moving these sites closer in the direction for potential redevelopment,” said EPA Mid-Atlantic Regional Administrator Adam Ortiz, Friday.

The EPA has also announced a proposed cleanup plan to address soil and sediment contamination on the Superfund site. A public meeting is scheduled for 6 p.m. May 31 at Doylestown Borough Hall.

The Chem-Fab site was a metal processing business that operated in the 1960s and 1970s. Chemicals used in the electroplating and metal etching were stored and processed on the property.

In the 1980s, Manfred Derewal Jr. operated a metal processing company, Electronic Metals Corp. at part of the Chem-Fab plant. In 2000, he was sentenced in federal court to five years in jail and five years’ probation and ordered to pay $14,867 to the EPA and a $1,000-fine. Derewal had already been in prison since 1998 and the judge ordered his time served be applied to his sentence.

Following a five-day trial, Derewal was convicted of storing approximately 50 drums of ignitable and corrosive hazardous waste without a permit from 1974 to 1994 at the Chem-Fab site. He was also found guilty of attempting to manufacture methamphetamine.

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