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Locations of Gas Plants and Other Coal-tar Sites in the U.S.

THE STATE OF PENNSYLVANIA 

Introduction

             Pennsylvania was heavily developed in terms of manufactured gas (1796-1960);

1)        Michael Ambroise, Italian-American fireworks maker (Philadelphia) made experimental gas in 1796;

2)         T.S.C. Lowe developed his revolutionary carburetted water gas process (1873),

3)        Pennsylvania gas-engineer inventors offered numerous patent circumventions to Lowe’s patents;

4)        The hugely nationally-expansive United Gas Improvement, Co. (U.G.I.), was the world’s first industrial conglomerate (1882), and gas equipment manufacturer and gas plant operator;

5)        Pennsylvania was the scene of more adopted gas-machine patents than elsewhere in the world and its gas engineers were among the most experienced, worldwide.

We identify nearly 800 Pennsylvania locations of coal-tar generation; mostly town gas plants, along with types of coke ovens, producer fuel gas and various tar-product plants. Wide availability of gas coals and coking coals also served the steel industry of this pivotally-geographic industrial state. Our numbers likely are accurate to 98 percent for town gas, but fall considerably short for producer gas plants.

Pennsylvania was a battleground of gas acquisitions and mergers (1890-1930), dominated by U.G.I. in the SE corner, and by “raiding” holding companies in all other locations. U.G.I. colonized in many States, most grandly in New Jersey and in the Bronx and Westchester County of New York. The area around Pittsburgh (after 1910) became served with West Virginia natural gas, but the thousands of non-recovery SW Pennsylvania coke ovens dwindled only after 1920. Environmental controls over gas-house pollution began in 1929, one of the first such State-concentrated efforts.

Gas-wise geologically,  the State divides diagonally, from NE to SW corners; the southern portion most devoted to gas manufacturing, while the remainder saw episodic production of early natural gas, as well as most of the oil-gas plants. Pennsylvania coal-tar sites break roughly into those on: 1) alluvium; 2) weathered soils; and 3) jointed Paleozoic sedimentary bedrock. All require astute geologic site and waste characterization for environmentally sound remediation and associated risk assessments. All sites should considered to have discharged PAH-bearing gas liquors to the ground, and to have one or more dumps of toxic, non-degradable gas-manufacturing residuals and/or wastes.

Click the blue "EPA" link below to view the
Pennsylvania map o
f the EPA 1985 Radian FMGP Report.

Click the green "Hatheway" link below to view the
Pennsylvania map of Professor Hatheway's research.

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