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EPA Finalizes Plan to Clean Up Contaminated Ground Water at Tri-Cities Barrel Superfund Site in Broome County, N.Y.

Release Date: 10/20/2011
Contact Information: Elias Rodriguez, (212) 637-3664, rodriguez.elias@epa.gov

(New York, N.Y.) The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency will clean up contaminated ground water at the Tri-Cities Barrel Superfund site in Fenton, N.Y. using a variety of natural processes. The ground water is contaminated with volatile organic compounds, which can cause serious damage to people’s health and the environment. EPA originally planned to extract and treat the contaminated ground water. Data collected since the original cleanup plan was selected, however, indicate that natural processes are effectively reducing the levels of contaminants and that treatment of the ground water is not needed. EPA is requiring periodic collection and analysis of ground water samples to verify that the level and extent of contaminants are declining and that people’s health and the environment are protected. In August 2011, EPA held a public meeting and encouraged the public to provide input on this and two other cleanup options considered by the Agency.

The Tri-Cities Barrel Superfund site is a 14.9-acre former barrel and drum reclamation facility. During the reconditioning process, drums and barrels were cleaned and reconditioned using a variety of chemicals. Between 1960 and 1980, liquid waste from the process was discharged into a series of unlined lagoons on the site. Under EPA’s oversight, parties potentially responsible for the contamination at the site removed over 350 drums, as well as all containers, tanks, process equipment and buildings and cleaned up the lagoons. All of the equipment that was used while the drum reconditioning business was still in operation was decontaminated, all structures located on-site were demolished, and the debris was disposed of off-site.

In 2000, EPA selected a cleanup plan for the site that included excavating and disposing of the contaminated soil and sediment off-site and extracting and treating the ground water to remove contaminants. The cleanup of the soil and sediment was completed in 2003. The plan released in 2000 came from evaluating three alternatives to address the site-wide ground water contamination: taking no action, an option that must be considered under the Superfund law, extracting and treating ground water, and letting the contaminants naturally break down while regularly monitoring the site. At the time that the remedy was selected, sufficient data did not exist to demonstrate that natural breakdown of contamination was occurring at the site. Ground water extraction and treatment was selected as the most appropriate cleanup alternative. Since the remedy was selected, monitoring has shown that natural processes are effectively reducing contaminant levels in the ground water.

For more information on the Tri-Cities Barrel Superfund site, visit http://www.epa.gov/region02/superfund/npl/tricities/index.html.

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