Apartments and Offices Planned for Superfund Site in Upper Merion

O’Neill Properties, one of the major developers involved in redeveloping  Conshohocken over the last 20 years, has been pretty quiet of late (except when it comes to Recovery Centers of America, its addiction treatment facilities).

Last week reported how O’Neill Properties was pitching a “Lifes Science Mecca” off Conshohoken State Road that involves the GSK property that is split between West Conshohocken and Upper Merion.

This week, O’Neill Properties is in the news again due to the settlement with the Environmental Protection Agency involving the Crater Resources, Inc./Keystone Coke Co./Alan Wood Steel Co, property in Upper Merion. This property is in the same area as the GSK property.

The EPA’s website describes the property as follows:

The 50-acre Crater Resources, Inc./Keystone Coke Co./Alan Wood Steel Co. site is located in Upper Merion Township, Pennsylvania. The site consists of four inactive quarries. Beginning in 1919, Alan Wood Steel Company disposed of wastes generated by its coking facility in Swedeland, Pennsylvania, in three of the quarries at the site. In 1977, Keystone Coke Company purchased Alan Wood Steel Company. The firm continued to dispose of wastes at the site until 1980, when all operations at the facility ceased. Site activities contaminated soil, sediment and groundwater with hazardous chemicals. Remedy construction is underway.

So what is being done to clean-up the site? From the EPA’s website:

  • EPA is overseeing investigations into the nature and extent of contamination at the site being conducted by the Potentially Responsible Parties (PRPs).
  • In September 1994, three of the PRPs signed an Administrative Order on Consent to perform the Remedial Investigation and Feasibility Study (RI/FS) under EPA oversight. The RI/FS began the Summer of 1995, and field work began in January 1996.
  • The RI was completed in June 1999. In September 2000, a Record of Decision (ROD) was signed designating a remedy for the Site.
  • The remedy includes removal of all contaminated soils and sediments in Quarry 3, construction of a multi-layer cap to prevent direct contact and infiltration of surface water into the contaminated soils of Quarries 1, 2, and 4 and other contaminated soil areas.
  • EPA issued an Explanation of Significant Differences in July 2017 to modify the remedy for Quarries 1 and 2 to allow for residential development.

Some of the site overall has been developed already. There is an office park and part of the Gulph Mills Golf Club falls within the site.

So what is O’Neil Properties planning? From

As part of the settlement, two of the quarries will be cleaned by their owner, Renaissance Land Associates, with the goal of development, according to the civil suit filing. Renaissance Land Associates II and III completed purchase of those quarries in 2001. The two limited liability companies are under the control of O’Neill Properties.

Further in the article:

More commercial and residential projects are proposed for the 5.15 acres that contain the two quarries. EPA spokesman Roy Seneca said both will be capped before anything is built.

Upper Merion Township planner Rob Loeper said representatives of Renaissance Land Associates presented a plan in 2016 to build up to 300 multi-family units at one end of the property, provided issues were resolved with the EPA. Loeper said the units would likely be apartments.

Last year, the EPA said the company could build residential units provided the protective caps were built.  The company agreed to take the extra measures as part of the agreement reached Monday.

You can read the entire article here.

You can read the EPA’s information about the site here.