A 13.7-acre industrial site in East Whiteland Township, formerly known for its steel tube manufacturing, is now the battleground between environmental activists and developers. Bishop Tube is contaminated with the harmful commercial-grade solvent, trichloroethylene or TCE. It’s known to cause a multitude of health problems for people who are exposed to it, writes Zoë Read for WHYY.
TCE was used as a degreasing agent for metal parts manufactured between the 1950s and 1999. On top of that, there were also reports of PFAS in the groundwater of that site.
The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection announced its plans to clean up the site with chemical oxidants. In the meantime, the township has approved the development of townhomes on the former industrial site.
Environmental activists wanted the site to become a natural open space. But now they’re concerned that the cleanup doesn’t go far enough, and people living on the property could be exposed to the chemicals.
“We have people who have suffered very serious health ramifications, that they have good reason to believe are the result of exposure to this site — both people who work at the site, but also neighboring residents,” said Maya van Rossum of the Delaware Riverkeeper Network.
Read more about environmental advocates’ fight against developing the contaminated site on WHYY.