Apr 27, 2012

EPA Finalizes Plan for Next Phase of Toxic Site Cleanup

The toxic New York site has contaminated the public water supply

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has finalized its plan to demolish a building, dig up contaminated soil and sediment and treat the groundwater at the Crown Cleaners of Watertown Inc. Superfund site in Herrings, N.Y.

The soil and sediment are contaminated with volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, and the groundwater is contaminated with VOCs from past operations at this former paper bag manufacturing, laundry and dry cleaning facility. In January 2012, EPA held a public meeting in the area and encouraged the public to provide input on the proposed cleanup plan for the site.

Many VOCs are known to cause cancer in animals and can cause cancer in people. Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons are a group of chemicals that are formed during the incomplete burning of coal, oil, gas, wood, garbage or other organic substances and can cause cancer.

“Removing contaminated materials and cleaning up the groundwater will reduce the health risks from this site,” said Judith A. Enck, EPA regional administrator.

EPA will demolish the main building on the 9-acre property and dig up contaminated soil adjacent to the building and sediment from wetland areas to the west. Because VOCs have the ability to move down through the soil and contaminate groundwater, all of the excavated soil that is contaminated with VOCs will be sent to a licensed offsite disposal facility.

Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons remain bound to soil and will not impact the groundwater. Soil contaminated with polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons will be properly managed on site in part by covering it with clean soil. All of the excavated areas will be filled and covered with clean soil.

EPA will treat the contaminated groundwater in the source area using chemicals called oxidants. Any wetlands that are disturbed will be restored. The plan also requires restrictions that will prevent activities that could disturb the cleaned up areas and will prohibit any future residential construction on the property. EPA will carefully oversee operations and monitor future activities on the site.