News Releases - Pesticides and Toxic Chemicals
EPA Regional Administrator Judith A. Enck and Congress Member Sean Patrick Maloney Assess Cleanups at Superfund Sites in Orange and Dutchess Counties
Release Date: 06/10/2013
Contact Information: Elias Rodriguez, (732) 672-5520 cell, (212) 637-3664 office, firstname.lastname@example.org
- (New York, N.Y.) U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Regional Administrator Judith A. Enck and Congress Member Sean Patrick Maloney today visited three Superfund sites in Orange and Dutchess Counties to review and assess progress on the cleanup of contamination at these hazardous waste sites. Their first stop was the Shenandoah Road Ground Water Contamination Superfund site in East Fishkill, New York where a system is working to treat contaminated ground water. They were joined by local officials to highlight the success of the federal Superfund law in protecting the health of people who live and work near contaminated sites.
"Today Congress Member Sean Patrick Maloney and I got a first-hand look at how the ground water treatment system at the Shenandoah Road site and other Superfund cleanups are protecting people's health and the environment," said EPA Regional Administrator Judith A. Enck. "The Superfund program is based on the principle that the polluters should pay for cleanups. Thanks to the Superfund law and the support of leaders like Congress Member Maloney, the EPA is cleaning up toxic waste sites like the ones visited today without passing the costs along to taxpayers."
Superfund is the federal cleanup program established by Congress in 1980 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 contamination and requires them to perform or 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. If a responsible party declines to undertake cleanup work, the EPA can conduct the cleanup and seek to recover its costs. Work at two of the sites toured today – Shenandoah Road and Nepera Chemical – is being performed or funded by parties responsible for the cleanups. In the case of Consolidated Iron, the EPA performed the work using funds provided through a legal settlement with parties responsible for the site.
Shenandoah Road Ground Water Contamination
East Fishkill, NY
The Shenandoah Road Ground Water Contamination site, located in the hamlet of Hopewell Junction, Town of East Fishkill, was previously the location of an International Business Machines Corp. sub-contractor who cleaned and repaired computer chips there. Chemicals used at the site were disposed of in a septic tank and pit located on the property. Tests showed that 60 residential drinking water wells in the area exceeded acceptable levels for tetrachloroethene and trichloroethene, which are volatile organic chemicals used in industrial solvents. Exposure to these chemicals can have serious health impacts, including an increased risk of cancer.
The EPA initiated an emergency response to the contamination in June 2000, and supplied the 60 affected homes with bottled water and installed water treatment systems at each home. The EPA removed the septic tank and 4,800 tons of contaminated soil as part of cleanup. IBM agreed to maintain and improve residential drinking water systems, remove more soil, study the contamination and provide a permanent source of drinking water. In March 2009, IBM completed its work to connect impacted residents with the Shenandoah local public water supply system. About 130 homes are now receiving public water and are no longer on private wells.
IBM performed an investigation and a study with EPA’s oversight that covered ground water, surface water and sediment. The EPA conducted indoor air testing at homes within the Shenandoah Road community, which found no public health concerns. In 2012, the EPA issued a cleanup plan for the site that calls for the continued operation of a system that extracts and treats the ground water, coupled with natural processes to reduce the contaminants. The ground water will continue to be periodically sampled to measure the effectiveness of both the ground water extraction and treatment system and the natural processes.
The site was added to the Superfund list in 2001. To date, the cleanup has cost approximately $43 million.
Consolidated Iron and Metal
The Consolidated Iron and Metal seven-acre site is located in the city of Newburgh and was used as a facility to process scrap metal, which included the use of a smelter. The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation found oil and other waste liquids in the soil and in storm water being discharged into the Hudson River without appropriate testing or permits. Sampling performed by the EPA indicated that soil was contaminated with volatile organic compounds, PCBs, and metals.
In 1999, the EPA removed an estimated 6,600 tons of soil containing metals from the site. The EPA constructed a berm to prevent storm water from carrying pollutants from the site into the Hudson River. In 2004, the EPA removed tires, scrap metal and concrete and demolished buildings on the site. Tires removed from the site were shipped to a facility that used them for fuel. Scrap metal, concrete and hydraulic oil were recycled. In all, about 68,000 cubic yards of contaminated soil was removed from the site and disposed of at a facility licensed to receive the waste. The excavated areas of the site were filled with clean soil. The city of Newburgh is developing a plan to manage the site and determine how to redevelop the property.
The site was added to the Superfund list in 2001. To date, the cleanup has cost approximately $33 million, of which more than $13 million has been paid by parties responsible for the site.
The Nepera Chemical Company, Inc. Superfund site is a 29.3-acre property in Hamptonburg that was formerly used to dispose of a variety of pharmaceutical and industrial chemicals. Six lagoons that were used to dispose of chemical production wastewater cover roughly five acres of the site. The lagoons were filled with soil after they were no longer used. The soil and ground water were contaminated with volatile organic compounds and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons. In 2011, the EPA selected a plan to remove the contaminated soil from the site and oversaw performance of the removal of over 83,000 tons of contaminated soil from the site. Soil was excavated from approximately five acres to depths ranging from 10 feet to over 20 feet. As the excavation went to depths well below the water table, significant quantities of ground water were pumped-up, treated to remove pollutants, then discharged to a nearby stream. When this work was completed, oxygen-releasing chemicals were added to the ground water to help degrade low-level contamination. The soil cleanup is complete and the source of ground water contamination has been removed.
The site was added to the Superfund list in 1986. To date, the cleanup, which is being performed by parties responsible for the site has cost approximately $3 million.
Contaminated soil removed for disposal from all three sites was transported to facilities licensed to receive the waste. At the sites at which ground water is contaminated, the EPA requires periodic collection and analysis of ground water samples to verify that the level and extent of contaminants are declining and that people’s health and the environment are protected. The EPA also conducts reviews at least once every five years to ensure the effectiveness of the cleanups.
For more information about Superfund sites in New York and across the country, please visit: http://www.epa.gov/region02/superfund
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