Site History

History of Remedial Investigation
at the Philadelphia Refining Complex

The former Sunoco Philadelphia Refinery, now known as the Philadelphia Energy Solutions Refining and Marketing LLC Complex, consists of approximately 1400 acres located on both the eastern and western banks of the Schuykill River in Philadelphia. The complex has a long history of petroleum transportation, storage and processing. The oldest portion of the complex started petroleum-related activities in the 1860s when Atlantic Petroleum Company (Atlantic) established an oil distribution center. In the 1900s, crude oil processing began and full-scale gasoline production started during World War II. Current operations at the complex are limited to the production of fuels and basic petrochemicals.

Although investigations have occurred at the complex at least back to the 1980s and before, additional environmental investigation activities occurred at the complex in the early 1990s as part of Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) Corrective Action permits. Additional investigations at the Point Breeze Processing Area of the complex proceeded pursuant to a Consent Order and Agreement (CO&A) with the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (PADEP) since 1993. At the natural expiration of the 1993 CO&A in 2003, a new 2003 Consent Order and Agreement between Sunoco, Inc. (R&M), now known as Sunoco (R&M), LLC (Sunoco)_and the PADEP replaced the 1993 agreement and expanded the scope to also include the Girard Point Processing Area, the West Yard, Belmont Terminal and the Schuylkill River Tank Farm in addition to the Point Breeze Processing Area. In an effort to streamline the investigative process, the complex was divided into Areas of Interest (AOIs) in the 2003 agreement. AOIs were defined based on geographic location and/or historic and current operations, among other factors. These AOIs are:

  • AOI 1 – Belmont Terminal, #1 Tank Farm, and #2 Tank Farm
  • AOI 2 – Point Breeze Fuels Processing Area
  • AOI 3 – Impoundment Area
  • AOI 4 – #4 Tank Farm Area
  • AOI 5 – Girard Point South Tank Field Area
  • AOI 6 – Girard Point Chemicals Processing Area
  • AOI 7 – Girard Point Fuels Processing Area
  • AOI 8 – North Yard
  • AOI 9 – Schuylkill River Tank Farm
  • AOI 10 – West Yard
  • AOI 11 – Lower Aquifer Beneath the Complex

In accordance with the 2003 CO&A and Phase I Plan (included in the CO&A), a Current Conditions Report and Comprehensive Remedial Plan (CCR) was prepared by Sunoco in June 2004. The CCR presented the Phase II remedial approach and schedule to characterize each of the 11 AOIs, and to conduct Phase I and II corrective action activities in accordance with the 2003 CO&A and the Phase I Plan. Sunoco performed site characterization activities at all 11 AOIs in accordance with the 2003 CO&A and submitted a corresponding Site Characterization Report (SCR) for each AOI in accordance with the Revised Phase II Corrective Action Activities schedule that was included in the CCR.

In October 2006, Sunoco submitted a Notice of Intent to Remediate (NIR) to the PADEP for the facility, formally entering the facility into the Act 2 program. This NIR was later updated and submitted to the PADEP in November 2014 in order to reflect the change in ownership to PES and update the remediator to Evergreen. The NIR was updated again in December 2016 to change the selected remediation standard for lead in soil to the Residential Statewide Health Standard for the North Yard Ball Field in AOI 8. After entering the Act 2 program, Sunoco prepared and submitted Site Characterization/Remedial Investigation Reports (SC/RIRs) and/or Remedial Investigation Reports (RIRs) to formally satisfy the requirements of Act 2. The Act 2 SC/RIRs and RIRs superseded the previously submitted SCRs. The most recent RIR report for each AOI summarizes characterization work included in the previous reports, as well as investigation work completed to supplement the previously reported activities.

The PADEP and USEPA signed an agreement entitled “One Cleanup Program Memorandum of Agreement (MOA or One-Cleanup Program)” in 2004, which clarifies how sites remediated under Pennsylvania’s Voluntary Cleanup Program (Act 2) may also satisfy RCRA corrective action requirements through characterization and attainment of remediation standards established under the Pennsylvania Land Recycling and Environmental Remediation Standards Act (statutory name for Act 2). In November 2011, the facility was entered into the One Cleanup Program with the USEPA Region III and PADEP, though both agencies had substantial involvement in the progress of the environmental activity at the complex prior to that time. In November 2011, Sunoco submitted a revised Work Plan for Sitewide Approach under the One Cleanup Program (Work Plan for Sitewide Approach).

In 2012, the complex was transferred from Atlantic (as to Point Breeze)/Sunoco (as to Girard Point) to Philadelphia Energy Solutions (PES) at which time a Buyer-Seller Agreement between the PADEP, (PES) and Sunoco replaced the 2003 CO&A. The First Amendment to Consent Order and Agreement was signed in June 2020 to amend the Buyer-Seller Agreement after purchase of the site by Hilco. In addition, a 2012 Settlement Agreement and Covenant Not to Sue was signed by Sunoco, PES and the USEPA. Since December 30, 2013, Philadelphia Refinery Operations, a series of Evergreen Resources Group, LLC, which is an affiliate of Sunoco, Inc., now known as ETC Sunoco Holdings LLC (Evergreen), has managed the legacy investigation and remediation at the refinery.

As previously noted, RIRs have been submitted for each of the AOI’s at the complex, with the most recent RIR having been submitted in December 2017. Comments were received from PADEP for two of the RIRs requesting additional data be collected prior to approval; therefore, addendums to these reports will be forthcoming upon completion of additional data collection by Evergreen. Upon approval of all RIRs, additional Act 2 reports can be submitted, including contaminant fate and transport (how and where contamination will move in the subsurface), human health and ecological risk assessments (is there risk associated with the contaminants in the subsurface), Cleanup Plans (details on cleanup and how standards will be attained), and Final Report(s). Note, a Human Health Risk Assessment Report was submitted in 2015 to establish a site-specific standard for lead in soil.

A chronology of Act 2 reports (replacing previously submitted SCRs between 2005 and 2010) is included below:

6/29/201110Site Characterization/Remedial Investigation
9/12/201111Site Characterization/Remedial Investigation
12/13/20115Site Characterization/Remedial Investigation/Cleanup Plan
1/31/20128Site Characterization/Remedial Investigation
2/29/20127Site Characterization/Remedial Investigation
6/21/201311Final Report
9/3/20136Site Characterization/Remedial Investigation
9/19/20137Site Characterization/Remedial Investigation Addendum
10/16/20134Site Characterization/Remedial Investigation
2/24/2015AllHuman Health Risk Assessment
12/31/20159Remedial Investigation
6/9/201610Ecological Risk Assessment
8/5/20161Remedial Investigation
1/16/20175Remedial Investigation
2/8/20179Remedial Investigation Addendum
3/20/20173Remedial Investigation
3/24/20174Remedial Investigation
6/9/20177Remedial Investigation
7/20/20172Remedial Investigation
11/21/20176Remedial Investigation
12/21/20178Remedial Investigation