(Formerly: Cognis Corp.)
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EPA had reviewed the existing groundwater investigation and has determined that the groundwater plume does not extend off-site. Monitoring on-site will continue. An environmental indicator determination for groundwater contamination was will be prepared and posted to this website.
An environmental indicator determination for the soils will be completed once all environmental covenants are properly recorded for the entire property.
Cognis Corporation (Cognis) owns a former metal-treatment and herbicide/pesticide manufacturing facility located in Ambler, Pennsylvania. One or both of these operations were generally performed between 1914 and 2003. Since then, operations have been reduced to specialty laboratory work in one building and general business and site-support services throughout the remainder of the 26-acre property.
Cognis and previous owners have directed several environmental investigation and/or remedial activities at the Ambler facility between the early 1980s and present. Several of these voluntary actions were performed under oversight by the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (PADEP). PADEP’s Release from Liability under Pennsylvania’s Land Recycling and Environmental Remediation Standards Act (Act 2) program was received on May 3, 2006 for work associated with closure and transfer of 18 acres to Lower Gwynedd Township in 2002. An environmental covenant has not yet been recorded for this property.
Groundwater beneath the property has been evaluated since the early 1990s for VOCs, SVOCs and metals. Certain VOCs; 1,1-Dichloroethene (1,2-DCE), 1,2-Dichloroethane (1,2-DCA), 1,2-Dichloropropane (1,2-DCP), trichloroethene (TCE), were found in the overburden and bedrock aquifers above Maximum Contaminant Levels (MCLs) for drinking water. 1, 2-DCA is the primary contaminant, and in 2007 was found in the bedrock aquifer, at the source area near the former Tank Area 3.
Low-flow extraction and ex-situ ozone-peroxide treatment of contaminants removed much of the most highly contaminated parts of the plume between 2007 and 2009.
Additional treatment, hydraulic and pneumatic fracturing in conjunction with in-situ injections of a bioegradation product in 2010 and 2013 will be evaluated periodically to determine if modifications need to be made to the system. The 2013 monitoring showed a considerable reduction in the size of plume and concentration of the contaminants. Perimeter monitoring shows that the plume is contained within the property boundary and does not extend off-site.
A number of soils investigations and remedial activities have taken place on the site. A number of soils investigations and remedial activities have taken place on the site. Only two areas identified compounds at levels above the applicable non-residential Statewide Health Standards (SHS) under Act 2. BASF used the Act 2 non-residential and used aquifer SHSs for all evaluations except for the Building 14 Area, as described below.
Excavations at the two areas that exceeded Act 2 standards removed 265 cu yd of contaminated soils. Post-excavation confirmation sampling at these areas did not show any exceedances of the applicable Act 2 standards for direct contact or soil to groundwater transport.
Building 14 Area
As a special project, BASF directed several investigation and remediation tasks associated with soil around Building 14 and railroad (RR) siding that formerly existed along the southwestern side of Building 14. Approximately 380 cu yd of contaminated soil where excavated from the RR siding area under a 1986 Administrative Consent Order (ACO) by EPA. The excavation ranged between 1 and 3-feet deep over an area of approximately 5,500 sq ft. Dioxin cleanup tasks were successfully performed to meet an EPA mandated cleanup criteria of 0.246 mg/kg. Arsenic cleanup tasks were successfully performed to meet an EPA and PADEP-approved,
risk-based screening level of 3,066 mg/kg. In a letter dated January 22, 1999, EPA approved the clean-up and the ACO was satisfied.
Several pesticides, naphthalene, dioxin and arsenic exist at levels above the most stringent applicable Statewide Health Standards in the Building 14 Area. BASF installed a cap of 4-inch thick asphalt cap on top of 1 ft deep fill along the entire south-southwestern side of the Building 14. Building 14 is roofed and constructed of concrete, brick, and steel. With the addition of the asphalt cap, the Building 14 area is completely surrounded by asphalt and concrete, which serves as an engineering control for the area.An environmental covenant dated June 20, 2011 requires BASF or any future owner of the property to restrict land and groundwater use activities to those compatible with non-residential, land-use categories. In addition, the covenant requires inspection, maintenance and record-keeping of the integrity of the engineered cap that overlies Building 14 Area.
- Some of the site’s key documents of interest are accessible below:
- Environmental Indicator Determination - Groundwater Migration [PDF, 8 pages, 26 KB, About PDF]
- Documents and reports regarding this facility also can be reviewed in person at these locations:
U.S. EPA Region III
Land & Chemicals Division
1650 Arch Street-11th Floor
Philadelphia, PA 19103
Call for an appointment.
- Submit a FOIA Request
Get instructions on how to submit a FOIA request. Additional fee for requests over 100 pages.
For more information about EPA’s corrective action webpage, including Environmental Indicators, please visit our site at: www.epa.gov/reg3wcmd/correctiveaction.htm