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EPA Finalizes Plan to Remove Contaminated Soil from Nepera Chemical Superfund Site in Orange County

Release Date: 07/25/2011
Contact Information: John Senn, (212) 637-3667, senn.john@epa.gov

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency today released an amended plan to remove contaminated soil from the site of former lagoons at the Nepera Chemical Company, Inc. Superfund site in Hamptonburgh, N.Y. in Orange County. EPA developed three options to address soil contaminated with potentially harmful volatile organic compounds at the former lagoons and has selected excavation and off-site disposal of the contaminated soil as the cleanup method. Excavation of the contaminated soil will begin later this summer and will take several months to complete. EPA held a public meeting and a public comment period to gather input from the public on the three options developed to address the contaminated soil. About 7,000 people live within three miles of the site.

This plan amends EPA’s 2007 cleanup plan for the site, which called for excavating contaminated soil and treating the soil on-site to degrade contaminants, but not removing the soil from the site. The 2007 plan also included the treatment of contaminated ground water at the site. The ground water treatment activities at the site will not change.

“EPA’s decision to remove contaminated soil from the Nepera Chemical site represents the most effective way to complete this critical phase of the site cleanup,” said EPA Regional Administrator Judith A. Enck. “The contaminants in this soil – especially semi-volatile and volatile organic compounds – continue to act as a source of ground water contamination, so removing them must be a priority.”

Subsurface soil at the Nepera Chemical site contains a variety of contaminants, including semi-volatile and volatile organic compounds. People could be harmed if they ingest or come into contact with contaminated soil or water. Ground water samples from nearby residential wells and three public supply wells have not revealed site-related contamination. Additionally, the site is fenced in order to limit the potential for exposure to site-related surface soil contamination.

The Nepera Chemical Company, Inc., Superfund site is a 29.3-acre former industrial waste disposal facility. Nepera made a variety of pharmaceutical and industrial chemicals. Between 1953 and 1967, lagoons at the site received approximately 50,000 gallons of waste water per day from the Nepera Chemical plant in Harriman, N.Y. The six backfilled lagoons cover roughly five acres in total. State inspectors detected leaks from the lagoons in 1958 and 1960, and operations ended in 1967.

Contamination at the site has been addressed in two stages: short-term actions and a long-term remedial phase focusing on cleanup of the entire site. The short-term actions have included the filling of the lagoons in 1974, the construction of a fence limiting access to the site and the disposal of three drums found during an excavation in 1991. Ground water monitoring and soil sampling have been a primary component of the long-term remedial investigation. EPA approved a final remedial investigation study in 2006 and issued a record of decision in 2007. This record of decision selected a plan that included excavating contaminated soil and treating it on-site to degrade the contaminants. Additional data collected since initiating the 2007 plan showed that less soil than originally expected would need to be remediated. The expected costs of removing soil also decreased. In this amendment to the record of decision, EPA selected a plan to remove the contaminated soil from the site as it will significantly shorten the time needed to complete the site cleanup.

The record of decision is available on EPA’s website at http://www.epa.gov/region02/superfund/npl/nepera/. It is also available at the Hamptonburgh Town Hall at 18 Bull Road, Campbell Hall, N.Y. and EPA’s New York City office at 290 Broadway, 18th floor, New York, N.Y.

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