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EPA Finalizes $6.5 Million Cleanup Plan for Niagara Mohawk Power Corporation Superfund Site in Saratoga Springs, NY

Release Date: 04/03/2013
Contact Information: Larisa Romanowski, (518) 747-4389, romanowski.larisa@epa.gov

      (New York, N.Y.) The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has finalized its plan to clean up additional contaminated soil and ground water at the Niagara Mohawk Power Corporation Superfund site in Saratoga Springs, NY. The site, which was once used to manufacture gas from coal, contains hazardous substances, such as polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) and volatile organic compounds (VOCs) that were produced as byproducts and disposed of on site. Exposure to these pollutants can have serious health effects, and in some cases, increases the risk of cancer. Residents within the area impacted by the contaminated ground water do not use the ground water as a drinking water source and are serviced by a public water supply. To-date, the cleanup of the Niagara Mohawk Power Corporation Superfund site has been conducted and paid for by National Grid or its predecessor with oversight by the EPA. The EPA expects National Grid to perform and pay for this $6.5 million final phase of the cleanup.

      The plan to address contaminated soil and ground water was proposed in February 2013. The details of the plan were discussed at a public meeting held on March 7, 2013. The EPA selected the cleanup plan after reviewing and considering all comments submitted during the 30-day comment period.

      “This final phase of the cleanup will address dangerous contaminants remaining at the site,” said EPA Regional Administrator, Judith A. Enck. “The completion of the cleanup will ensure that the local environment and health of the people living in the area is protected.”

      The EPA’s plan calls for the cleanup of 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. The EPA will solidify and stabilize contaminated areas of soil in the Old Spring Well area with a cement-like material. Underground barriers 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 and soil will be treated using non-hazardous oxygen-releasing materials and nutrients 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 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 EPA divided the investigation and cleanup into two phases when it discovered additional contamination at the site. The plan announced today is the second and final phase. 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 on Excelsior Avenue, in stream sediment along portions of Spring Run Creek, and the former Spa Steel property. 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.

      Superfund is the federal cleanup program established by Congress in 1980 to investigate and clean up the country’s most hazardous sites. The program operates on the principal 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.

      Visit the EPA’s webpage for additional information about the site or to view the Record of Decision: http://www.epa.gov/region2/superfund/npl/niagaramohawk/.

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