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EPA Encourages the Public to Comment on Plan for Cleanup at Shenandoah Road Superfund Site in East Fishkill, New York

Release Date: 08/30/2012
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 ground water at the Shenandoah Road Ground water Contamination Superfund site in a rural area of East Fishkill, New York. Past industrial activities contaminated the ground water with tetrachloroethene, commonly known as PCE, which is a volatile organic compound that can have serious health effects. The proposed plan calls for the continued operation of a system that extracts and treats ground water coupled with natural processes to reduce the contaminants in the ground water and restrictions on ground water use as well as to ensure that the remedy remains intact.

The EPA will hold a public meeting on September 12, 2012 to explain the proposed plan and is encouraging public comments. The meeting will be held at 7:00 p.m. at the East Fishkill Fire District Administration Building, 2502 Route 52, Hopewell Junction, New York. Comments will be accepted from August 29 until September 28, 2012.

Between 1965 and 1975, Jack Manne, Inc. rented a property at 7 East Hook Cross Road in East Fishkill and operated a facility there to clean and repair computer chip racks supplied to it under a contract with International Business Machines. As part of this process, solvents, including PCE, were disposed of in a septic tank and an in-ground pit located at the property.

In 2000, well sampling conducted by the New York State Department of Health indicated that residential wells in the vicinity of the facility were contaminated with PCE above the federal and state maximum contaminant level. Following this discovery, the EPA initiated an emergency response at the site and began the delivery of bottled water to affected residences. The EPA and the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation determined that the source of the PCE contamination in these nearby residential wells was the facility.

The Shenandoah site was placed on EPA's Superfund list of the nation's most hazardous waste sites in 2001, and EPA notified IBM and Jack Manne of their status as parties potentially responsible for the cleanup. Later that year, IBM entered into an agreement with the EPA to complete soil cleanup work already begun at the site by the EPA.

With EPA oversight, IBM completed the removal of the excavated sources of ground water contamination from the facility. In early November 2003, IBM presented the EPA with the alternatives for providing a permanent water supply, and the EPA subsequently selected a connection to the Fishkill municipal water supply. In March 2009, the public water supply system was completed and began to supply drinking water to the Shenandoah Road community.

In September 2002, IBM entered into a second agreement with the EPA to perform a study of the nature and extent of contamination that remained at the site as well as cleanup alternatives. The proposed plan for the next phase of the cleanup involves the continued operation of the source area ground water extraction and treatment system currently in place, and natural processes such as dilution and dispersion as well as land and ground water use restrictions. Monitoring wells will be periodically sampled to measure the effectiveness of both the source ground water extraction and treatment system and the natural processes.

The Superfund program operates on the principle that polluters should pay for the 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. The cleanup of the Shenandoah Road site is expected to be performed by IBM with oversight by the EPA.

Written comments may be mailed or emailed to:
Damian Duda, Remedial Project Manager
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency – Region 2
290 Broadway – 20th Floor
New York, N.Y. 10007-1866
(212) 637-4269
duda.damian@epa.gov

For more information on the Shenandoah Road Ground water Contamination Superfund site, go to: http://www.epa.gov/region02/superfund/npl/shenandoah/.

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