Investigation of Closed Solvay Polymer Facility

DNREC Reaches Settlement with Company for Investigation, Possible Remediation at Site

The Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control today announced a settlement with Solvay Specialty Polymers USA, LLC to address perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) allegedly released from the company’s facility in the Marshallton area of New Castle County.

On Sept. 11, 2020 DNREC notified Solvay that it is a potentially responsible party (PRP) for the alleged PFAS release and offered the company an opportunity to enter DNREC’s Voluntary Cleanup Program (VCP) in accordance with Hazardous Substance Cleanup Act (HSCA) regulations.

Solvay is an international company that recently closed and decommissioned its facility located at 800 Greenbank Road in Marshallton. Solvay processed polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE) by irradiating the PTFE feedstock, then milling it to a fine powder that was sold as product.

Under the terms of the settlement, Solvay must perform a comprehensive environmental investigation at the site and at potentially affected surrounding areas under the oversight of DNREC’s Division of Waste and Hazardous Substances. Based on the results of the remedial investigation, an appropriate remedy will be proposed to address any soil, sediment, surface water, and groundwater contamination which may be discovered at the site and in the surrounding areas affected by a release from the Solvay plant. At present, DNREC’s soil, sediment, and surface-water testing has not identified any known potential for health concerns for residents in the surrounding neighborhood or along Red Clay Creek.

To view the settlement, visit the DNREC website at https://dnrec.alpha.delaware.gov/secretarys-orders/enforcement/.

About DNREC
The Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control protects and manages the state’s natural resources, protects public health, provides outdoor recreational opportunities and educates Delawareans about the environment. The Division of Waste and Hazardous Substances ensures Delaware’s wastes are managed to protect human life, health, safety and the environment. The Division of Air Quality monitors and regulates all emissions to the air. For more information, visit the website and connect with DNREC on Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn.

Media Contacts: Michael Globetti, michael.globetti@delaware.gov; Nikki Lavoie, nikki.lavoie@delaware.gov

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DNREC Updates A-Street Ditch PCB Cleanup Pilot Project

A new report prepared for the Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control indicates that the innovative technology being tested in Wilmington’s A-Street Ditch cleanup pilot project continues to show promise. The report summarizes data collected one year after biologically-enhanced carbon pellets were applied to sediments in the ditch to clean up polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs).

Conducted by the DNREC’s Watershed Approach to Toxics Assessment and Restoration (WATAR) program, the technology deployed in the A-Street Ditch project uses an activated carbon product (SediMite™) with the addition of PCB-destroying micro-organisms. The activated carbon sequesters PCBs and over time the micro-organisms degrade and destroy PCB molecules. A similar technology was successfully demonstrated in an earlier DNREC project at Mirror Lake in Dover.

PCBs are persistent, bioaccumulative and toxic legacy industrial compounds. They pose ecological and human health risks and are the largest contributor to fish consumption advisories issued periodically by DNREC and the Delaware Division of Public Health.

Results of DNREC’s July 2020 sampling of the A-Street Ditch show reduced concentrations of dissolved PCBs in the sediment porewater – the water trapped between grains of sediment in the bottom of a water body – across the entire project area. Results from two of the nine samples that were collected in July 2020 (one surface water sample and one sediment sample) showed localized increases in PCB concentrations. The WATAR team is evaluating potential reasons for these increases and will make their findings public when available. DNREC is planning to assess PCB concentrations in sediment, surface water and sediment porewater again in July.

DNREC’s A-Street Ditch pilot project was supported by Hazardous Substance Cleanup Act (HSCA) funds and a U.S. Environmental Protection Agency multi-purpose grant. Visit the DNREC-WATAR webpage for monitoring reports about the A-Street Ditch project. Additional information about the Mirror Lake-Dover project can also be found on the DNREC-WATAR webpage.

About DNREC
The Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control protects and manages the state’s natural resources, protects public health, provides outdoor recreational opportunities and educates Delawareans about the environment. The Division of Watershed Stewardship develops and implements innovative watershed assessment, monitoring and implementation activities. The Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control protects and manages the state’s natural resources, protects public health, provides outdoor recreational opportunities and educates Delawareans about the environment. The Division of Waste and Hazardous Substances ensures Delaware’s wastes are managed to protect human life, health, safety and the environment. For more information, visit the website and connect with DNREC on Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn.

Media contact: Michael Globetti, michael.globetti@delaware.gov or Nikki Lavoie, nikki.lavoie@delaware.gov

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Unified Command For Oil Incident Along Delaware, Maryland Beaches Suspends Cleanup Operations

After sustained cleanup operations for last month’s oil spill in Delaware Bay spearheaded by the Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control and the U.S. Coast Guard under a unified command, Delaware’s beaches have all been declared substantially “cleared.”

Cleanup crews are prepared to respond to further oiling, and shoreline monitoring will still take place. The public is asked to report any sizeable sightings of oil or oily debris, or oiled wildlife to DNREC’s toll-free environmental hotline, 800-662-8802.

The month-long multi-agency response to tar patties began on October 19, 2020, after reports of oil patties impacting the Delaware Shoreline from Fowler Beach, and downward along the Delaware Bay coast to the state’s Atlantic Ocean beaches from Cape Henlopen to Fenwick Island and to the Assateague Island State Park in Maryland. As of late Friday, the only cleanup that remains is an area of Gordon’s Pond, part of Cape Henlopen State Park. It is expected this area will be clear on Monday.

“As the unified command suspends, and we pick up the final bits of oily debris, we can reflect on consolidating our environmental resources into a model of teamwork that eliminated this threat to our coastline,” said DNREC Secretary Shawn Garvin. “We are grateful for the commitment by our federal partner, the U.S. Coast Guard, to see it through, and for the DNREC responders — including emergency response personnel, environmental scientists and engineers — who worked to avert serious harm to our environment, particularly to our beaches. The collaborative effort under the unified command has accomplished its goals in combating this oil spill.”

Since the oil began breaking up, scattering, and spreading to various locations along the coast, about 85 tons of oily debris has been removed by cleanup crews during the spill response.

The oiled sand and debris are being disposed of in a special landfill designed for petroleum-contaminated material.

“The collaborative effort of the first responders, assessment teams, investigators and response workers who spent weeks on the shore of Delaware using technology and hand tools to remove tar balls over the past three weeks, has resulted in exceptional progress during a dynamic spill response,” said Lt. Cmdr. Fredrick Pugh, U.S. Coast Guard Incident Commander. “Our state, local and federal partners have come together to help clean the beaches of Delaware and Maryland; and while the source of the spill is still unknown and under investigation, we will continue to posture ourselves to monitor, and if need be, assign resources in the event more tar balls were to appear.”

While the origin of the spill is still unknown, it is still under active investigation by the U.S. Coast Guard and the Marine Safety Lab in New London, Connecticut.

About DNREC
The Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control protects and manages the state’s natural resources, protects public health, provides outdoor recreational opportunities and educates Delawareans about the environment. For more information, visit the website and connect with DNREC on Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn.

Media Contacts: Nikki Lavoie, nikki.lavoie@delaware.gov; Michael Globetti, michael.globetti@delaware.gov

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More Delaware Beaches are Cleared of Oily Debris

Unified Command Conducts Final Shoreline Assessments

Cleanup crews under the unified command have successfully cleared all Delaware Bay beaches and another stretch of Atlantic Ocean coastline of oily debris and tar balls. After the latest shoreline assessment late Tuesday, only Gordon’s Pond at Cape Henlopen State Park, North Shores Beach, Rehoboth Beach and Dewey Beach require final sign off.

The unified command under the U.S. Coast Guard and the Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control will continue to survey beaches and dispatch cleanup crews as necessary.

As crews conduct final assessments, beachgoers should avoid any remaining oily debris deposited along the wrack or high tide line.

The public is asked to continue reporting sizeable sightings of oiled debris, tar balls or oiled wildlife.

For reports concerning the Delaware coastline, call DNREC’s toll-free environmental hotline at 800-662-8802. For reports concerning the Maryland coastline, call the Maryland Department of the Environment at 866-633-4686.

About DNREC
The Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control protects and manages the state’s natural resources, protects public health, provides outdoor recreational opportunities and educates Delawareans about the environment. For more information, visit the website and connect with DNREC on Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn.

Media Contacts: Nikki Lavoie, nikki.lavoie@delaware.gov; Michael Globetti, michael.globetti@delaware.gov

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Some Southern Delaware, Maryland Beaches Cleared of Oily Debris, Tar Balls

Remaining Cleanup Operation Focuses on Delaware Bay and Delaware North Atlantic Ocean Beaches

Cleanup crews for the unified command have cleared oily debris and tar balls from a significant stretch of coastline from the southern side of the Indian River Inlet in Delaware to the Assateague Island State Park in Maryland. Beaches cleared include Bethany, South Bethany, Fenwick Island, Ocean City, the Assateague Island State Park, and part of Cape Henlopen State Park along the Atlantic Ocean.

The unified command under the U.S. Coast Guard, the Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control and the Maryland Department of the Environment has stood down its on-site incident command post at the Slaughter Beach Memorial Volunteer Fire Company on Wednesday, after about two weeks of operations, and shifted to a remotely coordinated response.

The cleanup operations will go on, and also shift resources to more affected areas, as crews continue their process of validating beaches to be clear of oiled material and tar balls.

With Maryland beaches no longer affected, the MDE will step back from the unified command. The Coast Guard, MDE, and DNREC will continue to monitor cleared beaches and continue daily evaluations of areas previously impacted but cleared. Clean up crews may be dispatched to conduct remedial spot checks of areas as necessary.

“Our team came together to address an urgent threat to the environment, and though that threat isn’t over, we believe we have structures, procedures and relationships established to shift our cooperative efforts to manage clean up remotely,” said Lt. Cmdr. Frederick Pugh, U.S. Coast Guard Incident Commander. “We will continue to watch areas that have been impacted and will shift resources as necessary.”

After an oil spill, winds and waves tear the oil into smaller pieces that can be scattered many miles along the coastline. It mixes with water and is changed, known as “weathering,” and also mixes with sand and other marine debris. About 75 tons of oily debris has been removed by cleanup crews during this response.

“We got tons of oily debris and weathered oil off our beaches, but we’re not done yet,” said DNREC Secretary Shawn Garvin. “Our experts continue to survey our coastline, assessing the cleanup operation, and as we move ahead, conducting final evaluations of our beaches to make sure the job is done.”

The cause of the oil spill remains under active investigation by the U.S. Coast Guard. If a source is identified, the responsible party would be required to reimburse the federal government for the cleanup operation.

As cleanup ends on individual beaches over the next several days, the public may still see small spots of oil or isolated bits of debris. The beach in Lewes remains temporarily closed, and beachgoers to other affected areas are strongly advised to stay out of the water and avoid walking along the wrack or high tide line.

The public is asked to continue reporting sizeable sightings of oiled debris, tar balls or oiled wildlife.

For reports concerning the Delaware coastline, call DNREC’s toll-free environmental hotline at 800-662-8802. For reports concerning the Maryland coastline, call the Maryland Department of the Environment at 866-633-4686.

About DNREC
The Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control protects and manages the state’s natural resources, protects public health, provides outdoor recreational opportunities and educates Delawareans about the environment. For more information, visit the website and connect with DNREC on Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn.

Media Contacts: Nikki Lavoie, nikki.lavoie@delaware.gov; Michael Globetti, michael.globetti@delaware.gov

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