Jul 06, 2016

New York Soil Potentially Contaminated With PCBs

Past disposal of industrial wastes affects soil near homes and businesses

New York, homes, soil contamination

Polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) were found in the soil of 19 homes along Ley Creek in Salina, N.Y., illustrating that due to the past use of industrial chemicals at a number of locations across New York and the tri-state area, the soil around some homes and businesses may be contaminated. 

According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the Lower Ley Creek area is located in an industrialized area of the town. Since the late 19th century, several industries have been operating near Ley Creek and its branches. As part of these operations, industrial wastes containing PCB oils and other hazardous substances were discharged into the creek. In the 1970s, Ley Creek was dredged and redirected through the town of Salina's landfill by Onondaga County in an effort to control flooding. Dredged materials were spread along the shoreline of the creek and also disposed of at the landfill.

PCBs belong to a broad family of manmade organic chemicals known as chlorinated hydrocarbons. They were domestically manufactured from 1929 until their ban in 1979 and were used in hundreds of industrial and commercial applications. Although no longer commercially produced in the U.S., PCBs still may be present in products and materials produced before the 1979 ban and in contaminated environments.

“Not only can PCBs be found in contaminated soil in and near many former industrial sites, older properties may contain PCBs in everything from fluorescent light ballasts and caulking to transformers and capacitors,” said Michael Berrevoets, president of VOETS LLC. “At VOETS, we offer comprehensive PCB testing services for both indoor and outdoor environments. If PCBs are found, our experts can oversee mitigation efforts and perform post clearance testing to ensure workers, families, and the public are no longer at risk of exposure.”