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Alcoa To Carry Out EPA's Order and Expand Cleanup at Superfund Site in Moira, New York To Contaminated Wetlands Sediments

Release Date: 02/25/1999
Contact Information: Rich Cahill (212) 637-3666 / cahill.richard@epa.gov

(#99030) NEW YORK, N.Y. -- Alcoa will begin in late Spring to clean up soils and sediments contaminated with polychlorinated biphenyls (PCB) and lead at the York Oil federal Superfund site in Moira, New York, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced today. The site, a former waste oil recycling and storage facility, accepted waste oil from a number of companies, including Alcoa. The facility was improperly managed and operated and, as a result, soils on the York Oil property and nearby wetlands sediments and groundwater were contaminated.

EPA issued a Superfund Unilateral Order on December 31, 1998 requiring Alcoa to excavate, treat and dispose of the contaminated wetlands sediments. Alcoa agreed to start this cleanup in the Spring to coincide with the company's existing plans, under the terms of a previous agreement with EPA to excavate and treat the contaminated soils and treat the groundwater beneath the facility. The contaminated soils and groundwater under the facility are the source of the contamination of the nearby wetlands, sediments and area groundwater.

"The Superfund enforcement program has the built-in flexibility to speed up cleanups," EPA Regional Administrator Jeanne M. Fox said. "The company recognized it could save about $1 million in costs by jump-starting the cleanup of the wetlands sediments this Spring when cleanup of the contaminated soils was set to begin. We issued the Order so that the problems at the site can be dealt with as soon as possible."

Numerous other parties have reimbursed Alcoa for part of the cost of cleaning up contaminated soils and groundwater at the source. This Spring, EPA intends to begin negotiations with other parties that contributed waste oil and other contaminants to the site. The Agency expects these parties to reimburse Alcoa for their share of the cleanup costs for the contaminated sediments and to repay EPA for the costs it has incurred.

The Agency expects that, when combined with the removal of the sources of contamination, within a reasonable time frame, the gradual breakdown of the contaminants in the area groundwater will return the quality of the groundwater in the wetlands south of the facility to a level that meets federal and state standards. This breakdown process is called "natural attenuation." Under the recent Order, Alcoa also will perform long-term monitoring of the groundwater to measure the effectiveness of the natural attenuation process in reducing the contamination level. To further protect public health, EPA's plan also calls for a prohibition on the installation of drinking water wells in the area where the groundwater is contaminated.

These cleanup plans are based on the findings of an investigation into the extent of contamination in sediments and groundwater at the site. The investigation and studies were conducted under EPA supervision by some of the parties deemed responsible for causing the problem.

For more information contact:
Richard Cahill, Press Office
EPA Region 2
290 Broadway
NY, NY 10007-1866
Voice: 212-637-3666 FAX: 212-637-5046 E-Mail: cahill.richard@epamail.epa.gov