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EPA Encourages the Public to Comment on Proposed Cleanup Plan for the Niagara Mohawk Power Corp. Superfund Site in Saratoga Springs, New York; Public Meeting on March 7, 2013 at Saratoga Spa State Park

Release Date: 02/27/2013
Contact Information: Elias Rodriguez, 212-637-3664, rodriguez.elias@epa.gov

      (New York, N.Y.) The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has proposed a plan to clean up contaminated soil and ground water at the Niagara Mohawk Power Corporation Superfund site in Saratoga Springs, New York. The site, which was once used to manufacture gas from coal, is contaminated by polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) and volatile organic compounds (VOCs) that were produced as byproducts and disposed of on site. PAHs are suspected cancer causing substances. Many VOCs are known to cause cancer in animals and can cause cancer in people. The community obtains its drinking water from public wells, which are not contaminated.

      “The proposed plan for the Niagara Mohawk site is an important step toward completing the cleanup and ensuring that people’s health is protected into the future,” said Judith A. Enck, EPA Regional Administrator. “I encourage the public to attend the public meeting and provide their input on the proposed plan.”

      The EPA will hold a public meeting on March 7, 2013 to explain the proposed plan. It will be held at 7:00 p.m. at the Saratoga Spa State Park Administration Building, 19 Roosevelt Drive, Saratoga Springs, NY. Comments will be accepted until March 28, 2013.

      From approximately 1853 to the 1940s, Niagara Mohawk's predecessors, Saratoga Gas and Light and New York Power and Light Corporation, produced gas used to power gas street lights at the Niagara Mohawk property on Excelsior Ave. After gas manufacturing ceased at the site, the Niagara Mohawk Power Corporation used its property for storage and to park vehicles. The property is currently owned by National Grid. The EPA added the Niagara Mohawk Power Corp. site to the Superfund list in 1990.

      The EPA issued its first cleanup plan for the site in 1995 after finding contaminants in the ground water and soil on the Niagara Mohawk property, at a former skating rink formerly owned by the city and in stream sediment along portions of Spring Run Creek. During the first cleanup, contaminated soil and sediment were removed from areas containing coal tar waste, underground barriers were installed to contain the contaminated ground water, a protective cap was installed to cover contaminated soil and monitoring was initiated. Additionally, a system to extract and treat contaminated ground water was constructed and continues to operate. In all, over 68,400 tons of contaminated soil and 16,700 tons of contaminated sediment were removed from the site. This work was completed in 2002.

      In this proposed second and final phase of the cleanup, the EPA will clean up contaminated soil and ground water discovered in a half acre area near Excelsior, Warren and High Rock Avenues. It includes a section of Excelsior Avenue, a small green space containing the Old Red Spring well and pavilion and a section of a paved parking lot.

      Under the EPA’s plan, the top two feet of contaminated soil near the Old Red Spring well will be dug up and disposed of at a facility licensed to receive the waste. The excavated areas will then be filled with clean soil. The EPA will also solidify and stabilize contaminated areas of deeper soil in the same area with a cement-like material. Walls and a mat will be installed to contain contaminated soil underneath the surface of Excelsior Avenue. Following the work, any grassy areas, plants, parking lots, roadways or sidewalks impacted during the cleanup will be restored.

      In addition, the contaminated ground water will be treated using a non-hazardous additive to break down the contamination to meet federal and state water quality standards. The EPA will require the periodic collection and analysis of ground water samples to verify that the level and extent of the contamination is declining. The proposed plan requires environmental easements and restrictions on land use that will prevent activities that could disturb the cleanup and prohibits the use of ground water wells, among other restrictions.

      The Superfund program operates on the principle that polluters should pay for cleanups, rather than passing the costs to taxpayers. After sites are placed on the Superfund list of the most contaminated waste sites, the EPA searches for parties responsible for the contamination and holds them accountable for the costs of investigations and cleanups. To date, the cleanup of the Niagara Mohawk Power Corp. Superfund site has been conducted and paid for by Niagara Mohawk and National Grid with oversight by the EPA.

      Written comments may be mailed or emailed to:
      Maria Jon, Remedial Project Manager
      U.S. Environmental Protection Agency – Region 2
      290 Broadway, 20th Floor
      New York, N.Y. 10007-1866
      (212) 637-3966
      NiagaraMohawkComments.Region2@epa.gov

      More information can be found at http://www.epa.gov/region2/superfund/npl/niagaramohawk

      Follow EPA Region 2 on Twitter at http://twitter.com/eparegion2 and visit our Facebook page, http://www.facebook.com/eparegion2.

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