Apr 12, 2012

Companies Agree to Aid EPA in Remediating Groundwater

GE and SI will collect the contaminated liquid waste and send it off site for disposal

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced Wednesday that it has reached an agreement with the General Electric Co. (GE) and SI Group Inc. (formerly Schenectady Chemical) to collect and properly dispose of contaminated groundwater and liquid leaching from the Dewey Loeffel landfill that is threatening several nearby drinking water wells.

The liquid seeping from the landfill and the groundwater are contaminated with volatile organic compounds, which can cause cancer. The extent and nature of potential health effects depend on many factors, including the level and how long people are exposed to the contaminants.

Currently, EPA is collecting the contaminated liquid waste and sending it off site for disposal. But per the new agreement, GE and SI will take on the collection and removal of the waste and the construction of a treatment plant adjacent to the landfill with EPA oversight. The waste will continue to be sent off site until the construction of the treatment plant is completed. Treated water from the new system will be discharged to surface water after EPA verifies that sampling data shows that the treatment system is working effectively and is capable of meeting stringent state discharge limits. GE and SI have agreed to reimburse EPA for certain costs, including an upfront payment of $800,000.

“The EPA has determined that treating the contaminated groundwater and liquid at the site is an effective way to protect people’s drinking water wells while the EPA investigation of the site continues,” said Judith Enck, EPA regional administrator. “The treatment system that will be constructed near the landfill will alleviate the impacts of the hundreds of truck trips needed to dispose of the waste off site.”

The treatment system to be constructed will address potential threats from the contaminated groundwater, leachate and community concerns about trucking the contaminated liquid off site. A comprehensive long-term study is underway and will identify permanent cleanup options for the contaminated groundwater, surface water and sediment associated with the site. The permanent cleanup plan may include changes to the leachate collection, groundwater extraction and treatment systems.