DEP, PPG Settle – $1.2M

DEP Announces Settlement with PPG Industries Over Longstanding Violations

Pittsburgh, PA (4/2/2019) – The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) announced a settlement agreement with PPG Industries, Inc. (PPG), including a $1.2 million civil penalty, for violations at its Ford City Disposal Site located in North Buffalo and Cadogan townships, Armstrong County. Under the terms of the Consent Order and Agreement (COA), PPG will have cleanup and treatment obligations for the discharge of leachate into the Allegheny River and its tributary Glade Run.

PPG disposed of wastes associated with its former glass manufacturing plant located in Ford City from the 1920s until 1970. The Ford City Disposal Site property, located in North Buffalo and Cadogan townships, contains two distinct areas known as the Slurry Lagoon Area (SLA) and the Solid Waste Disposal Area (SWDA) and Annex.

The approximately 70-acre SLA contains three lagoons constructed within a former sandstone quarry that were used by PPG to dispose of glass polishing slurry waste generated at its nearby glass manufacturing plant located in Ford City. The approximately 18-acre SWDA and Annex was used by PPG to dispose of glass cullet and other solid wastes generated at the same facility. In 1972, PPG sold the site to Ford City for $1.00 for use as a recreational facility. No such facilities were constructed, and site access has been—and will continue to be—restricted.

While there is evidence that the SLA seeps were having an adverse impact on stream quality and aquatic life in the immediate vicinity of the discharge, samples collected at downstream public water supply intakes were not and are not adversely impacted by PPG’s discharge. Leachate is essentially liquid that has come into contact with waste material. Once permitted, the leachate will be treated and discharged in a manner protective of human health and aquatic life.

DEP published a revised draft National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit for the site on September 29, 2018, and intends to issue the final NPDES permit pending the issuance of related federal permit approvals. The COA includes obligations for PPG to conduct monitoring, sampling, and seep reconnaissance to ensure that any discharges adhere to the terms of the NPDES Permit. The permit will ensure the proper leachate treatment and elimination of unauthorized discharges. As part of this settlement, PPG has agreed not to appeal the final NPDES permit for treated wastewater discharges.

PPG’s implementation of an approved Land Recycling Program (Act 2) Cleanup Plan and revised Treatment Plan required by this agreement would restrict future access and development on the site in perpetuity via an environmental covenant.

In the interim years, DEP and its predecessor agency took enforcement actions against PPG and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency conducted a site investigation. PPG conducted numerous investigations of its own at the site and implemented various control and remedial strategies to control the leachate discharges. The company constructed an interim collection and treatment system and submitted additional plans, analyses, an NPDES permit application, and reports required under Act 2.

“Reaching this agreement, that addresses legacy contamination, is long overdue, but it is the right thing for the environment and protects future generations,” said DEP Southwest Regional Director Ron Schwartz.

CONTACT: Lauren Fraley, DEP 412-442-4203