A battery manufacturing facility operated in the Borough of
Hamburg from 1920 to the mid 1990s. During operations, battery casings were split open and the lead plates inside the batteries were removed for resmelting. The battery casings were reused as ground fill material and deposited throughout the Hamburg area.
Kaercher Creek is listed as a warm-water fishery and ranges in width from 3 to 10 feet and in depth from 1 to 3 feet (Roy F. Weston, Inc. 2000). The creek banks vary from 2 to 20 feet high throughout the Borough of Hamburg, which contains industrial, commercial, and residential zones and is located in rural northeast Pennsylvania. Kaercher Creek flows through the Borough of Hamburg and the Price Battery facility property before it joins the Schuylkill River southwest of Hamburg.
In October 2001, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) was notified of the presence of battery casings along Kaercher Creek near the Hamburg Field House. In 2002, Tetra Tech EM Inc., under the direction of the EPA On-Scene Coordinator, performed removal assessments along Kaercher Creek from Kaercher Lake to Kaercher Creek’s confluence with the Schuylkill River. The Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry reviewed the site assessment reports and issued a Health Consultation that recommended an immediate Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act removal action to protect human health.
In May 2003, EPA approved funding for a removal action at the Hamburg – Kaercher Creek site. EPA remediated a total of 5,470 feet of Kaercher Creek during the Hamburg – Kaercher
Creek removal action. Exide Corporation completed remediation of Kaercher Creek at the Price Battery facility.
On-site cleanup activities included excavating contaminated sediment and soil, transporting the lead-contaminated soil off site for disposal, and capping remaining areas of contamination. Soil capping activities included backfilling with clean soil, fertilizing and seeding the area with native grass seed, mulching with straw, and planting trees and shrubs as appropriate. Sediment capping activities included installing geotextile fabric and backfilling with rip rap stone.
Removal Activities associated with the 2003 - 2004 EPA lead clean-up, were completed in December 2004. However, in 2017, during an ecological assessment of Kaercher creek, EPA remedial program contractors (CDM Federal) reported finding significant areas of erosion on the banks of Kaercher Creek adjacent to the Hamburg Fieldhouse and parking lot. EPA's remedial program (RPM, John Banks) then notified the removal program (OSC, Todd Richardson) of the erosion issues on the banks of Kaercher Creek. In May of 2018, EPA OSC Richardson, along with Dean Maser (Weston Solutions, START) conducted and initial assessment of the erosion damaged creek bank. During the assessment several areas of erosion were observed with visible battery casings and lead concentrations around 2600 - 2800ppm.