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Success of federal Superfund law highlighted
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Regional Administrator Judith A. Enck and Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney visited three Superfund sites in Orange and Dutchess counties in New York state to review and assess progress on the cleanup of contamination at these hazardous waste sites.
Shenandoah Road Groundwater Contamination — East Fishkill, N.Y.
The Shenandoah Road Groundwater Contamination site, located in the hamlet of Hopewell Junction, town of East Fishkill, was previously the location of an International Business Machines Corp. (IBM) sub-contractor that cleaned and repaired computer chips. 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 (VOCs) used in industrial solvents. Exposure to these chemicals can have serious health impacts, including an increased risk of cancer.
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 agency 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.
The site was added to the Superfund list in 2001. To date, the cleanup has cost approximately $43 million.
Consolidated Iron and Metal — Newburgh, N.Y.
The Consolidated Iron and Metal 7-acre site 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 EPA indicated that soil was contaminated with VOCs, PCBs and metals.
In 1999, EPA removed an estimated 6,600 tons of soil containing metals from the site. It constructed a berm to prevent storm water from carrying pollutants from the site into the Hudson River. In 2004, 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 cu yd of contaminated soil were 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.
Nepera Chemical — Hamptonburg, N.Y.
The Nepera Chemical Co. Inc. Superfund site is a 29.3-acre property 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 groundwater were contaminated with VOCs and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons. In 2011, 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. Soil was excavated from approximately 5 acres to depths ranging from 10 ft to more than 20 ft. As the excavation went to depths well below the water table, significant quantities of groundwater 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 groundwater to help degrade low-level contamination. The soil cleanup is complete and the source of groundwater 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.