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EPA to Hold Public Meeting on Liberty Industrial Finishing Superfund Site in the Village of Farmingdale, New York

Release Date: 07/12/2012
Contact Information: Elias Rodriguez, 212-637-3664, rodriguez.elias@epa.gov

      (New York, N.Y.) The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is proposing to change a portion of its plan to build two separate systems to treat contaminated ground water at the Liberty Industrial Finishing Superfund site in Farmingdale, New York. Between 1940 and 1978, various industrial operations took place at the site including aircraft parts and fiberglass products manufacturing and metal plating and finishing. Hazardous substances including cadmium, chromium and trichloroethene were disposed of in unlined basins and other areas on the site. One portion of the ground water under the site was contaminated by activities at the site itself, and another portion was believed to be contaminated by activities at the nearby Farmingdale Plaza Cleaners. The two separate areas of ground water at the 30-acre former industrial park were contaminated by volatile organic compounds, which can cause serious damage to people’s health and the environment. In 2002, the EPA issued a plan to install two separate systems to treat the portion of ground water contaminated by the manufacturing facility and the portion contaminated by the dry cleaner site. The system to treat contamination from the Liberty Industrial site was constructed and is currently operating. EPA is proposing to not build the second system because the dry cleaner site is being cleaned up by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation and recent monitoring data shows that the contamination levels in the portion of ground water under the Liberty Industrial site that was contaminated by the dry cleaner site have dropped significantly. The EPA is also announcing a change in restrictions on the future use of a portion of the site to allow recreational use of that area.

      The EPA will hold a public meeting on July 26, 2012 at 7:00pm to explain the proposed plan at the Farmingdale Library, 116 Merrits Road, Farmingdale. Comments will be accepted until August 20.

      In December 2002, the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation began work to clean up the Farmingdale Plaza Cleaners site under the state’s Superfund program. At that time, the EPA requested that the state also cleanup the ground water contamination underneath the Liberty Industrial site that was caused by the dry cleaner site. Since 2002, monitoring data has found that ground water contamination levels from the dry cleaner site have declined to near drinking water standards. Based on the monitoring data and the state’s plan to address the ground water as part of its work to clean up the dry cleaner site, the EPA no longer plans to build the second ground water treatment system at the Liberty Industrial Finishing site. The EPA will require periodic ground water sampling to verify that the level and extent of contaminants are declining and that people’s health and the environment continue to be protected.

      The EPA is also announcing a change in restrictions on use of a portion of the site that has already been cleaned up. The original 2002 cleanup plan stated that a 7.5-acre portion of the site known as the Central Sub-Parcel could be used only for commercial or industrial activities after the cleanup. The Town of Oyster Bay, however, has since then acquired the 7.5-acre portion of the site for further expansion of the Ellsworth Allen Park, and has undertaken additional cleanup at the Central Sub-Parcel. After assessing the cleanup that has been completed at the site, the EPA has concluded that the Central Sub-Parcel is suitable for redevelopment with clearance for recreational use.

      EPA has overseen a comprehensive cleanup of the Liberty Industrial Finishing site including:
    Excavation and disposal off-site of 70,000 cubic yards of contaminated soil
    Removal of contaminated water and solid material from vaults and sumps under ground
    Removal of underground storage tanks
    Construction and ongoing operation of a system to treat the ground water contaminated by former industrial activities at the site
    Excavation and disposal off-site of 4,200 cubic yards of contaminated pond sediment at the Massapequa Preserve.

      Superfund is the federal cleanup program established by Congress in1980 to investigate and clean up the country’s most hazardous waste sites. The Superfund program operates on the principle that polluters should pay for the cleanups, rather than passing the costs to taxpayers. When sites are placed on the Superfund list, the EPA looks for parties responsible for the pollution and requires them to pay for the cleanups. Cleanups are only funded by taxpayer dollars when those responsible for the pollution cannot be found or are not financially viable. The cleanup of the Liberty Industrial Finishing Superfund site is being conducted and paid for by the parties responsible for the pollution with oversight by the EPA.

      Written comments may be mailed or emailed to:
      Lorenzo Thantu, Remedial Project Manager
      U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
      290 Broadway, 20th Floor
      New York, New York 10007-1866
      (212) 637-4240
      thantu.lorenzo@epa.gov
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