Appellate court refuses to throw out Bishop Tube site petition

By Takesha Thomas | Aug 9, 2018

The legal fight to clean up the contaminated Bishop Tube site will continue, an appellate court ruled on July 25.

The Commomweatlh Court of Pennsylvania denied a request by the Pennyslvania Department of Environmental Protection to dismiss a petition by Delaware Riverkeeper.  

HARRISBURG –– The legal fight to clean up the contaminated Bishop Tube site will continue, an appellate court ruled on July 25. 

The three-judge panel on the Commomweatlh Court of Pennsylvania denied a request by the Pennyslvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) to dismiss a petition by the Delaware RiverKeeper Network. The environmental group wants to force the agency to clean up the site located in Chester County. 

The Bishop Tube site used to be home to a steel tubing manufacturing plant operating from the 1950s until 1999. Delaware Riverkeeper Network claims the site contains hazardous compounds and heavy metals that threaten Little Valley Creek and the surrounding groundwater. The environmental group says the statewide health standard for one such chemical -- trichloroethylene -- is five parts per billion. But the Bishop Tube site, they say, has the chemical in hundreds of thousands parts per billion.

Riverkeeper says DEP failed to notify residents about the risks of the site until 2014. 

DEP argued any type of injunction could delay progress at remediation, including a deal with a developer who agreed to help clean up the property. That developer already installed a remediation system, but a contractor damaged it in 2011.  

The court sided with Riverkeeper, finding that there exists a immediate threat to residents. 

DEP will have 30 days to respond to Riverkeeper's petition.

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