The state Department of Environmental Protection has ordered PPG Industries to collect and treat highly polluted water leaching from a 77-acre glass slurry lagoon into the Allegheny River just south of Ford City in Armstrong County.
The order, issued today, also requires PPG to restrict access to the site and a section of the Allegheny River where the runoff has been measured as having a pH of 12 -- higher than ammonia and just slightly lower than bleach -- and could cause skin burns to anyone contacting it.
The dump runoff, which has killed all vegetation on a hillside between the dump and the river, also contains high levels of arsenic, lead, manganese and aluminum.
The site, located 38 miles up river from Pittsburgh, was used by PPG from 1949 through 1970 as a dump site for waste produced by its Ford City glass factory, once one of the biggest glass manufacturing operations in the world. In the 1920s, PPG established a solid waste disposal area on the site in which was disposed off-spec glass and other solid wastes until 1967.
In 1972, PPG sold the site to Ford City for $1. A parcel of the site located north of the solid waste disposal area currently serves as a recreation area.
DEP records dating back 30 years show the DEP has tried to negotiate remediation of the site with PPG but agreements that were reached have been slowly implemented and ineffectual.
The order requires PPG within 30 days to begin monitoring the quality and quantity of the seepage and the receiving streams and to submit to DEP an interim abatement plan for review and approval.
Within 90 days, PPG must submit to DEP for review and approval a plan to permanently collect, treat and dispose of the waste water, as well as a schedule for plan implementation. PPG also is required to provide to DEP written monthly reports documenting the measures taken in the previous month and those planned for the following month to address the site conditions.