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Cancer fears near Delaware County landfill prompt EPA public meeting Thursday

After receiving “concerns” from residents in Norwood, Delaware County regarding its investigation of an old landfill and cancer and multiple sclerosis cases reported by neighbors, the federal EPA plans to hold a public meeting Thursday night.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency plans to hold a public meeting Thursday night in Norwood, Delaware County, after hearing concerns from residents regarding its investigation of an old landfill and cases of cancer and multiple sclerosis reported by neighbors.

EPA spokesperson David Sternberg said in a statement that the agency initiated a site assessment within the last few years “to determine if there is a risk posed to human health and the environment by actual or potential releases of hazardous substances at or near the former Norwood Landfill and if there is a need for additional action.”

Representatives from the EPA will update residents on the status of the investigation at the meeting.

The Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry and the Pennsylvania Department of Health plan to issue a separate report in 2020 addressing the community’s concerns of local cancer and multiple sclerosis cases.

Meanwhile, residents have created a support page on Facebook and set up a website at And CBS3 aired a special report Tuesday on cancer cases reported by some residents.

The unnamed landfill is located in a residential neighborhood. Norwood Lower Park borders the site to the northeast. Its ownership is not clear.

According to a 2018 report prepared for the EPA by Weston Solutions, residents said they suspected that the site was used as a waste dump by the Borough of Norwood, DELCORA (the county regional water authority), and Glenolden Laboratories.

Borough officials could not be reached for comment Wednesday evening.

Residents also said they suspected PCB-laden dredge or soil excavated during the construction of the Walt Whitman Bridge in the 1950s might have been dumped there and on surrounding land, and even used as fill for home sites.

The report said some soil samples contained concentrations of contaminants, such as benzo(a)pyrene, above residential standards. PCBs at levels above standards were also detected, as were some pesticides and arsenic.

Most residents get their drinking water through Aqua Pennsylvania, but all of its wells are located outside of a four-mile radius of the site. However, there are some private wells within that radius, mostly owned by businesses.

The EPA meeting will be from 6 to 8 p.m. Thursday at the Norwood Fire Company on Chester Pike.