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Superfund Site Delisting Returns Once Contaminated Land to Community for Reuse and Redevelopment; EPA, New York State, and the Air Force cooperatively reach major milestone

Release Date: 04/03/2009
Contact Information: Kristen Skopeck (518)747-4389, skopeck.kristen@epa.gov

(Rome, N.Y.) The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has finalized its decision to remove 23 parcels, or approximately 2900 acres of property, on the former Griffiss Air Force Base from the Superfund National Priorities List (NPL).

For these areas, all appropriate Superfund cleanup work has been completed, and the properties pose no significant threat to public health or the environment. However, these areas will continue to be maintained and their status reviewed. Remediation efforts will continue on other portions of the base, which will remain on the NPL.

“Since the beginning of the cleanup program in 1987, reuse and redevelopment have been a goal that everyone has been working to achieve at Griffiss,” said Walter Mugdan, Director of Emergency & Remedial Response Division for Region 2 of EPA. “The cleanup actions taken, and now the transfer of a significant amount of property to the community, are examples of Superfund at its best, and we are proud to have partnered with New York State and the Air Force in reaching this milestone."

The former base covers approximately 3,550 acres, across which EPA identified 32 areas of concern. Subsequently, the Air Force spent more than two decades and approximately $138 million to address the concerns, especially on the portions of the base being removed from the Superfund listing. This action is the largest total Air Force acreage delisting since 4,198 acres of Luck AFB, Ariz., were removed from the list in 2002. Including Griffiss, the Air Force has 30 Superfund sites remaining.

A Local Reuse Authority (LRA) called Economical Development Growth Enterprises Corporation has been actively working to establish new businesses within the former base property. EPA worked with LRA, the State, and the Air Force to evaluate the environmental condition of the properties being proposed for deletion and approved the 23 parcels. These properties were identified and discussed in a Federal Register posting, and EPA requested public comments on the proposed action. Having received no comments, EPA has finalized its decision.

EPA identifies sites that appear to present a significant risk to public health, welfare, or the environment and maintains the NPL as the list of those sites. In general, NPL sites are those where serious hazards exist or have existed which are threats to health. Deletion of a site from the NPL does not affect responsible party liability or impede agency efforts to recover costs associated with response efforts.

The former base is also included on New York State's Registry of Inactive Hazardous Waste Sites. Now that the federal delisting has been finalized for the 23 parcels, the state has also commenced the process to remove these parcels from the state's registry.

For a Google Earth aerial view of the former Griffiss Air Force Base site: http://www.epa.gov/region2/kml/griffiss_air_force_base.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). For more information on EPA’s Removal Program, visit: http://www.epa.gov/region02/superfund/removal.htm.

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