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EPA Proposes Plan to Clean Up Toxic Site in Glen Cove, New York; New Phase in Multi-Million Dollar Cleanup to be Launched

Release Date: 04/17/2014
Contact Information: Elias Rodriguez, (212) 637-3664, rodriguez.elias@epa.gov

      (New York, N.Y.) The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has proposed a cleanup plan to address contaminated ground water and soil at the Mattiace Petrochemical Co., Inc. Superfund site in Glen Cove, New York. The ground water and soil are contaminated with volatile organic compounds as a result of previous operations at the site by a chemical distribution and drum cleaning business. The plan proposed today amends a prior long-term cleanup plan and is intended to improve the effectiveness of ground water treatment at the site. Ground water from the Mattiace site flows away from the municipal wells that provide nearby residents with their drinking water and does not pose a threat to drinking water. The public water supply is monitored regularly to ensure that the water quality meets federal and state drinking water standards. The estimated cost of this proposed final phase of the cleanup is approximately $11.2 million.

      Some volatile organic compounds can cause cancer. The extent and nature of potential health effects depend on many factors, including the contaminant levels and the length of exposure to the pollution. The site is located next to a major redevelopment project in Glen Cove and is near the Nassau County Garvies Point Preserve, an important natural habitat.

      “The EPA has been working for years to protect the health of people who live near this contaminated property and the cleanup plan proposed today advances that essential work," said EPA Regional Administrator Judith A. Enck. “Ground water is virtually the only source of drinking water for the people of Long Island and EPA is committed to cleaning up Long island ground water.”

      The EPA will hold a public meeting on April 28, 2014 to explain the proposed plan and is encouraging public comments. The meeting will be held at 7:00 p.m. at Glen Cove City Hall, 9 Glen Street, Glen Cove, New York. Comments will be accepted until May 19.

      Mattiace Petrochemical Co., Inc. operated at the site from the 1960s until 1987 when it went bankrupt. When the facility was in operation, chemicals and stormwater were discharged into Glen Cove Creek, a tidal creek that leads to Hempstead Harbor. Soil on the site was contaminated and dozens of storage tanks and buried drums were found there. With the support of New York State, the site was added to the Superfund list in 1989.

      Through the late 1980s and into the 1990s, the EPA addressed the immediate threats to the surrounding community as part of long-term cleanup plans. The EPA removed over 100,000 gallons of hazardous liquids and excavated and disposed of contaminated soil, drums and storage tanks. The EPA demolished and removed all structures on the site. Contaminated material was also removed from behind a collapsed retaining wall and the wall, which runs along the former property boundary, was reinforced.

      In addition, the EPA constructed systems to treat the ground water and vapors from the soil. These systems were initially operated by the EPA and then by a group of parties legally responsible, which EPA identified and pursued to perform the work.

      After 15 years of extensive monitoring and after studying many options, the EPA has concluded that while the actions taken have reduced contamination levels in the ground water, the levels are no longer decreasing and additional measures are needed to complete the cleanup.

      The new EPA proposed plan calls for using natural processes together with a technique called bioventing that moves air through the soil and ground water to promote the natural breakdown of oily liquid waste and volatile organic compounds. A new system to vent the soil and ground water and capture the vapors will be constructed on the site and on an adjacent property.

      In other areas of the site, the EPA proposes applying non-hazardous additives to the ground water to promote the breakdown of contaminants. The specific types of additives to be used will be determined by the EPA as part of the design of the cleanup.

      In other areas of more highly contaminated soil and ground water, the plan calls for using heat to treat them. The thermal treatment involves applying heat underground that will destroy harmful chemicals in the soil and ground water and also allow some of the contaminants to move through soil and ground water toward wells where they will be collected and treated using additional treatment methods.

      An underground wall will be installed at the boundaries of the property to keep contamination from spreading to areas beyond the site. Trees, whose root systems will help to control ground water levels and further absorb some of the contaminants, will be planted on the property.

      The proposed plan requires restrictions on how the site can be used in the future to ensure that activities at the site do not interfere with the cleanup. The EPA will prevent the future use of the ground water as a source of drinking water. Other measures include requiring systems to reduce indoor air contaminants as part of any future building construction on the site. Disturbance of the containment wall would also be prohibited.

      The EPA will continue to ensure the periodic collection and analysis of ground water samples to verify that the level and extent of contaminants are declining. The EPA will continue to monitor vapors from the soil as well and will conduct a review every five years to ensure the effectiveness of the cleanup.

      The Superfund program operates on the principle that polluters should pay for the cleanups, rather than passing the costs to taxpayers. The EPA searches for parties legally responsible for the contamination at sites that are placed on the Superfund list and it seeks to hold those parties accountable for the costs of investigations and cleanups. The cleanup of the Mattiace Petrochemical Co., Inc. Superfund site is being performed and paid for by certain of the parties legally responsible, with oversight by the EPA.

      Written comments may be mailed or emailed to:

      Ashley Wiedemer
      Remedial Project Manager
      U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
      290 Broadway, 20th Floor
      New York, NY 10007
      Tel. (212) 637-4263
      wiedemer.ashley@epa.gov

      The plan for the site will be available at http://epa.gov/region02/superfund/npl/mattiace

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