EPA urges the public to comment on proposal
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has proposed deleting the Jackson Steel Superfund site in Mineola, N.Y., from the federal Superfund list of most hazardous waste sites. According to EPA, a cleanup of contaminated soil and groundwater contaminated with volatile organic compounds (VOCs), pesticides and metals has been completed and the site no longer poses a threat to public health and the environment.
Many volatile organic compounds are known to cause cancer in animals and can cause cancer in people. Some volatile organic compounds have no known health effects. The extent and nature of potential health effects depend on many factors, including the level and length of exposure. Pesticides and metals can damage people’s health.
“The EPA used Superfund dollars to clean up the source of contamination at this site and also addressed the contaminated groundwater,” said Judith A. Enck, EPA regional administrator. “The contamination at this site that once threatened the community is now taken care of and the site can be redeveloped.”
The Superfund program operates on the principle that polluters should pay for the cleanups, rather than passing the costs to taxpayers. EPA searches for parties legally responsible for the contamination at sites that are placed on the Superfund list and it seeks to hold those parties accountable for the costs of investigations and cleanups. No viable responsible parties have been identified for this site; therefore, it was funded by the EPA Superfund program with taxpayer dollars at a cost of $8.3 million.
The 1.5-acre Jackson Steel Superfund site includes a one-story, 43,000-sq-ft building formerly used as a metals manufacturing facility and an approximately 10,000-sq-ft paved parking area. It is bordered to the north by commercial and single-family homes, to the east by a two-story apartment complex, to the south by a daycare center and to the west by an office building and restaurant.
The Jackson Steel facility operated from 1970 through 1991. As part of its operation, the company used solvents as degreasers. The practice of disposing of waste into dry wells on the site, as well as spills and leaks that occurred during the facility's operations, were the likely sources of the contamination in the soil and ground water. EPA listed the site on the federal Superfund List in February 2000. EPA installed a system to remove volatile organic compounds from the soil and treated the contaminated groundwater. Groundwater standards have been met as a result of the treatment. EPA also excavated and disposed of contaminated soil and materials in dry wells and sumps inside and outside the Jackson Steel building, and the building floor was decontaminated.
Even at low levels, volatile organic compounds can migrate as vapors through the soil into buildings. This process, which is called vapor intrusion, can result in unacceptable human exposures to VOCs inside occupied buildings. As a result of the detection of vapor intrusion at an adjacent daycare center and billiards club (which became a retail store and is now part of the daycare center), EPA installed systems in 2002 to remove soil vapors from underneath these buildings. The systems will continue to operate and EPA will continue to conduct periodic reviews to ensure that the cleanup continues to be protective.
EPA has monitored the cleanup work performed at the site to ensure that the actions remain protective of people’s health and the environment. Restrictions were placed on the deeds of the Jackson Steel property and the daycare center to prevent exposure through vapor intrusion.
EPA has concluded that the cleanup work has been effective and that the site can now be taken off of the Superfund list.
EPA will accept comments on the proposed deletion of the site from the Superfund list until Sept. 12, 2016. EPA will evaluate all public comments before making a final decision. If necessary, EPA will prepare a document responding to any significant comments received during the public comment period. If EPA does not receive significant dissenting comments or no significant new data are submitted during the public comment period, this deletion will occur 45 days after the direct final Notice of Intent to Delete and Notice of Deletion are published in the Federal Register.
Submit your comments, identified by Docket ID no. EPA-HQ-SFUND-2000-0006, by following online instructions at www.regulations.gov, e-mailing [email protected], or faxing to the attention of Joel Singerman at 212.637.3966.
The public can also mail comments to the attention of Joel Singerman, Chief, Central New York Remediation Section, Emergency and Remedial Response Division, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Region 2, 290 Broadway, 20th Floor, New York, NY 10007-1866.
The public can hand deliver comments to Superfund Records Center, 290 Broadway, 18th Floor, N.Y., N.Y. 10007-1866 (telephone: 212-637-4308). Such deliveries are only accepted during the Record Center’s normal hours of operation (Monday to Friday 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.). Special arrangements should be made for deliveries of boxed information.
For more information on the Jackson Steel Superfund site, visit www.epa.gov/superfund/jackson-steel. For the docket with important information about the Jackson Steel Superfund site, visit https://semspub.epa.gov/src/collection/02/AR63961.