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EPA to Modify Cleanup Plan for Little Valley Site; New Plan Will Address Larger Area of Contamination

Release Date: 08/23/2006
Contact Information: Benjamin Barry (212) 637-3651 or

(New York, NY) The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is proposing to modify the cleanup plan at the Little Valley Superfund site in Cattaraugus County, New York to ensure that it addresses any threat posed by soil contaminated by trichloroethylene (TCE). Based on the results from a follow-up investigation that showed a much larger area of contaminated soil than previously thought, EPA is proposing to change its previous plans to remove soil from the site. The Agency is now proposing to extract TCE from the soil by using a method that pulls air through the soil to cause the contamination to evaporate, then traps the TCE and releases the clean air. This method will lead to a more effective cleanup. The Agency will also hold a public meeting and comment period to obtain input on the proposed change.

“This is precisely the reason why EPA conducts a thorough investigation at Superfund sites,” said EPA Regional Administrator Alan J. Steinberg. “Based on the results of our investigations, we now have the best and most effective plan to treat the contaminated soil at the Little Valley site.”

The Little Valley Superfund site consists of an area of ground water extending approximately eight miles and contaminated by TCE from a number of possible sources, including two former cutleries, a former drum storage area, an inactive municipal landfill that accepted industrial wastes and a former industrial facility. The community gets its drinking water, through private wells, from this ground water. In 1997, EPA installed individual treatment systems on over 90 private wells with TCE concentrations exceeding the federal and state drinking water standard of 5 micrograms per liter. The treatment systems consist of two carbon filters which remove TCE to below the federal and state drinking water standard.

Samples taken from the private wells before treatment show that TCE concentrations are decreasing in the majority of the wells. The carbon filters will continue to be used until the pre-filtered TCE levels drop below federal and state drinking water standard, which is expected to happen in about 10 years.

Concerns about vapors from ground water moving through the soil and into the air inside homes prompted EPA to test under the foundations of some homes in September 2005. Based upon these results, air samples were collected from within several of these homes in January 2006. In late July 2006, EPA began a second sampling program to test under the foundations of up to 150 additional homes.

Interested individuals can send comments on the modification before September 5, 2006 to:

John DiMartino
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
290 Broadway, 20th Floor
New York, N.Y. 10007-1866
Fax: (212) 637-4270

Copies of site-related documents and the proposed soil cleanup plan are available for public review at the Town of Little Valley Municipal Building, 201 3rd Street in Little Valley, New York, and the Salamanca Public Library, 155 Wildwood Avenue in Salamanca, New York.

More information about the Little Valley Superfund site: