Contact Us

Newsroom

News Releases - Radiation

 

EPA Finalizes Cleanup Plan for Hopewell Precision Site

Release Date: 10/30/2009
Contact Information: Beth Totman (212) 637-3662, totman.elizabeth@epa.gov

(New York, NY) The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has finalized its plan to address contamination at the Hopewell Precision site in Hopewell Junction, New York. The Agency has also already started the design of the new public water supply system, which will be followed by connection of those homes with potentially-contaminated drinking water wells to municipal water. The final cleanup plan will address the sources of contamination directly. Due to sloppy, past practices at the Hopewell Precision, Inc. facility where sheet metal parts were turned into furniture, the ground water that runs underneath the site has become contaminated with chemicals that can volatilize in the form of vapors into homes built over the contaminated plume. Contamination in the ground water under the site has spread beyond the boundaries of the facility. EPA’s cleanup will include restoring the ground water to drinking water standards within a reasonable time period and ensuring that the homes over the contaminated plume are not being affected by vapors that may emanate from the plume, into the basements of the homes.

“EPA is already working hard to eliminate the potential threat of people drinking contaminated water by providing an alternate drinking water supply,” said Acting Regional Administrator George Pavlou. “Now that that work is underway, we are moving forward to address the entire site, in particular, ground water contamination and its vapors.”

EPA is addressing the contamination at the Hopewell Precision Superfund Site in two separate phases. EPA has already begun design work to install water mains and distribution lines that will provide an alternate water supply. In addition, the more recent final cleanup plan includes restoring the contaminated ground water to drinking water standards by using naturally-occurring microorganisms that break contaminants down, making them harmless. The plan also entails monitoring of the movement of and changes in the contaminated ground water plume, the installation of additional home ventilation devices, which are designed to vent vapors from beneath the foundation, thereby preventing vapor entry at those homes that are found to be impacted, and periodic monitoring of those homes to ensure that they continue to be properly safeguarded from the potential vapors, if appropriate.

Hopewell Precision, Inc. began operations in 1977. In 1979, the Hopewell Precision facility was brought to EPA’s attention by a letter from a former employee. During an inspection at the facility, inspectors noticed odors emanating from the site. At the time of the inspection, Hopewell Precision was dumping one to five gallons per day of waste solvents, paint pigments, and sodium nitrate directly onto the ground.

The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (NYSDEC) was given primary responsibility for overseeing work at the site and did a variety of work there, including installing and sampling monitoring wells and conducting a number of inspections. During further inspections from the late 1980s to 2002, NYSDEC found 55-gallon drums of waste paint and solvents at the facility.

In February 2003, the state asked EPA to consider the site for inclusion on EPA’s National Priorities List (NPL) of the most contaminated sites in the country and EPA placed it on the list in April 2005. Even before listing the site, EPA collected ground water samples in 2003 from hundreds of private drinking water wells in the vicinity of the Hopewell Precision, Inc. facility. Volatile organic compounds (VOCs) were detected in several private well samples. EPA installed carbon filtration systems that remove VOCs in 41 homes at which VOC levels in well water exceeded federal drinking water standards. NYSDEC installed similar carbon filtration systems in 14 homes at which VOC levels in well water exceeded New York State’s drinking water standards, but fell below federal drinking water standards.

EPA also took samples of air from inside buildings and also sampled areas underneath the foundations of over 200 homes in the area to see if vapors from the water running underneath the homes were seeping up through the soil and into basements. In some cases vapors had seeped into basements and EPA has so far installed ventilation systems at 53 homes to reduce the residents’ exposure to indoor air contaminants associated with the site.

EPA selected the final remedy after reviewing and considering all comments submitted during a 30-day public comment period, which ended on August 30, 2009.

For more information on the Hopewell Precision Superfund Site, please visit http://epa.gov/region02/superfund/npl/hopewell/. For a Google Earth aerial view of the Hopewell Precision Superfund site: http://www.epa.gov/region2/kml/hopewell_precision.kml. (Please note that you must have Google Earth installed on your computer to view the map. To download Google Earth, visit http://earth.google.com/download-earth.html.

09-140