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EPA Finalizes Change to Cleanup Plan for Liberty Industrial Finishing Superfund Site in Farmingdale, New York

Release Date: 10/11/2012
Contact Information: Rodriguez, 212-637-3664, rodriguez.elias@epa.gov

      (New York, N.Y.) – The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has finalized a change to its plan to clean up ground water at the Liberty Industrial Finishing Superfund site in Farmingdale, New York. Industrial operations at the Liberty site, including aircraft parts manufacturing during the Second World War and metal plating and fiberglass manufacturing in the post-war years polluted ground water at the site. In addition, dry cleaning operations at the Farmingdale Plaza Cleaners, located 1,000 feet to the north of the site, resulted in a second source of ground water contamination. In both instances, the ground water was contaminated with volatile organic compounds, which can cause serious damage to people’s health and the environment. In 2002, the EPA issued a plan to install two separate systems to treat the portion of ground water contaminated by the manufacturing facility and the portion contaminated by the dry cleaner site. The system to treat contamination from the industrial operations at the site has been constructed and is currently operating to treat that contamination. In July 2012, the EPA proposed the cancellation of plans to construct the second system because the dry cleaner site is being cleaned up by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation. Recent monitoring data shows that the contamination levels in the portion of ground water under the Liberty Industrial site that was contaminated by the dry cleaner site have dropped significantly.

      The EPA held a public meeting in Farmingdale on July 26, 2012 to explain the changes to the ground water cleanup plan. The EPA took public comment for 30 days and considered public input before finalizing the plan.

      In December 2002, the DEC began work to investigate and clean up the Farmingdale Plaza Cleaners site under the state’s Superfund program, and the state recently announced that it would address the ground water associated with the dry cleaner facility. Since 2002, monitoring data has indicated that ground water contamination levels from the dry cleaner site beneath the site property have declined to near drinking water standards or by as much as one to two orders of magnitude from previous concentrations. Based on the monitoring data and the state’s plan to address the ground water as part of its work to clean up the dry cleaner site, the EPA no longer plans to build the second ground water treatment system at the Liberty Industrial Finishing site. The EPA will require periodic ground water sampling to verify that the level and extent of contaminants are declining and that people’s health and the environment continue to be protected.

      EPA has overseen a comprehensive cleanup of the site that was performed and paid for by the responsible parties, at a cost of approximately $34 million, including cleanup of site soil, sediment at the Massapequa Preserve, and the ongoing cleanup of ground water that was contaminated by manufacturing operations at the site. For a history of the cleanup, visit: http://www.epa.gov/region2/superfund/npl/libertyindustrial

      Superfund is the federal cleanup program established by Congress in1980 to investigate and clean up the country’s most hazardous waste sites. The Superfund program operates on the principle that polluters should pay for the cleanups, rather than passing the costs to taxpayers. When sites are placed on the Superfund list, the EPA looks for parties responsible for the pollution and requires them to pay for the cleanups. Cleanups are only funded by taxpayer dollars when those responsible for the pollution cannot be found or are not financially viable.

      For more information on the Liberty Industrial Finishing Superfund site, please visit: http://www.epa.gov/region2/superfund/npl/libertyindustrial

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