DEP Requests EPA to Assume Oversight at Seven Lancaster County Facilities

HARRISBURG – The Department of Environmental Protection requested the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to mobilize its resources to secure seven Lancaster County facilities found to house radium-coated gauges from military aircraft and other waste materials.

The move follows action taken by DEP on Monday, Jan. 14, when the agency issued an administrative order to Strube Inc. requiring that the hazardous waste and radioactive materials at each facility be identified and properly removed.

The department also requested that the company provide round-the-clock surveillance and security at the facilities, which has been in place since last week. The EPA-coordinated security arrived on-site at all seven facilities today.

DEP inspectors today further ensured that security requirements were being met at each of the facilities. Inspectors from the department also conducted preliminary readings and reported only low levels of radiation that do not present an immediate risk to residents near the facilities or company employees.

The facilities are located in Columbia, Marietta, Maytown and Mt. Joy.

In August 2007, DEP told the company to identify and begin removing the radium dials and waste materials from its warehouse sites. Subsequent DEP investigations revealed that larger quantities of materials existed at the facilities than Strube Corp. originally reported.

The order DEP issued on Monday requires the company to immediately prepare for and remove all radioactive materials from the facilities. The company understands its obligation under the order to secure the facilities and begin a thorough clean-up and removal of all hazardous and radioactive materials.

DEP has notified county and local emergency response officials of the situation. The officials will develop plans to protect the public in the event of an emergency at any of these sites.

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