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EPA in Agreement with Oyster Bay Plan to Acquire Part of Federal Superfund Site in Farmingdale for Park Expansion; Public Comment Period Set

Release Date: 12/10/2002
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(#02129) NEW YORK, N.Y. -- Under an agreement with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the Town of Oyster Bay will acquire a 15-acre portion of a federal Superfund site in Farmingdale, Long Island and use it to expand a public park. The town will help to fund the $34 million cleanup of the Liberty Industrial Finishing Superfund site. In exchange, the federal government will release a federal lien against the property and settle any potential federal liability for the cleanup that Oyster Bay might incur if it acquires the property. The contamination of the site resulted largely from the improper disposal of hazardous waste during and after World War II.

“This agreement is an important step in the plan to turn a neighborhood liability into the kind of community asset the public really wants,” said EPA Regional Administrator Jane M. Kenny. “It is an example of the Superfund program at its best.”

In April of this year, EPA announced a comprehensive plan to clean up site-related contamination at the Liberty Industrial Finishing site under the federal Superfund law. The cleanup will include contaminated site soils, on- site and off-site ground water and sediments at the Massapequa Preserve. EPA’s cleanup plan and the town’s proposed parkland development are compatible. EPA is currently negotiating an agreeement with a group of responsible parties, some of whom are already involved in cleaning up the site, for the design of the next phase of the site cleanup. This work will begin next summer, with EPA oversight.

Oyster Bay will pay the federal government an amount equal to the value of the property as if it were uncontaminated, less the money the town will be required to pay the present owners. The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) has approved the agreement. Public notice of this Prospective Purchaser Agreement (PPA) appeared in the December 3, 2002 Federal Register. Public comments on the PPA will be accepted up to January 2, 2003 and should be sent to Michael A. Mintzer, EPA Region 2, Office of Regional Counsel, New York/Caribbean Superfund Branch, 290 Broadway, 17th floor, New York, New York 10007- 1866.

The components of the final $34 million site cleanup plan for the different contamination problems at the site include:

ON-SITE SOIL AND SUBSURFACE STRUCTURE CONTAMINATION

Under the final plan, provided Oyster Bay acquires the property to develop a public park, more than 73,000 cubic yards of soil will be removed to levels that protect the underlying ground water and are also protective for recreational use. The soil will be shipped to an approved disposal facility. This will be followed by backfilling excavated areas with clean soil and site restoration work. All the liquid and solid hazardous material from underground storage tanks and subsurface structures on the site will also be removed and disposed of off-site. The cleanup plan will require deed restrictions to limit the use of the property for commercial/industrial purposes or recreational uses on the western side of the site.

GROUND WATER

Ground water, both beneath and beyond the property, will be treated by the construction and long-term operation of extraction (pump) and treatment (treat) systems. The plan also requires that a long-term ground water monitoring system be established to gauge the effectiveness of the various cleanup systems. Finally, the ground water remedy requires deed restrictions to prevent the use of ground water under the site for drinking water purposes.

MASSAPEQUA PRESERVE

EPA’s cleanup plan for the Massapequa Preserve requires that an estimated 2,600 cubic yards of contaminated sediments be removed at Pond A of the nearby Massepequa Creek and Preserve and shipped off-site for appropriate disposal. A long-term monitoring system will be established in the Massepequa Preserve to measure the improvements in water quality in Pond A and the other ponds as a result of the cleanup.