EPA places sites in East Fishkill and Newburgh on the federal list of hazardous waste sites

EPA placed two hazardous waste sites in New England on the Superfund National Priorities List for their tetrachloroethene-contaminated groundwater.

NEW YORK, N.Y., June 11, 2001 — The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) today placed two hazardous waste sites, the Shenandoah Road Groundwater Contamination site in the town of East Fishkill and the Consolidated Iron & Metal site in Newburgh, on its federal Superfund National Priorities List (NPL), making them eligible for further investigations and federal cleanups.

EPA proposed the site in East Fishkill for addition to the NPL in January of this year and the site in Newburgh last December. According to Acting EPA Regional Administrator William J. Muszynski, these final listings mean the sites are eligible for Superfund cleanup money to permanently address the consequences of hazardous waste contamination that may be affecting the local environment and community.

The federal Superfund program provides solutions for communities that face serious public health and environmental problems because of sites like these. The groundwater plume of tetrachloroethene (PCE) and other volatile organic compounds at the East Fishkill site is believed to be from a small facility that cleaned microchip racks from the late 1960s to the mid-1970s.

The PCE plume has contaminated groundwater that is used for household drinking water provided by private wells in the area around the facility. Since June 2000, EPA has installed individual water treatment systems at 57 private residences with contaminated wells and upgraded the existing systems at three homes.

As of April 2001, quarterly monitoring shows that all the treatment systems are effectively removing the contaminants from the households' water. EPA is also monitoring the water quality in an additional 77 homes on the perimeter of the PCE plume in order to ensure that these residential wells are meeting clean drinking water standards. In addition, EPA has removed over 1000 gallons of heavily contaminated liquid and sludge from a septic tank believed to be the original source of the contamination.

The agency also excavated 1600 tons of soil contaminated by the leaking septic tank, which was subsequently transported off-site for disposal. Finally, a small building that once housed the chip rack-cleaning facility was demolished to enable EPA to excavate underlying soil that was also contaminated.

EPA announced on May 17, 2001, that it had signed an Administrative Order on Consent with International Business Machines (IBM), a party responsible for the contamination, to complete the cleanup begun by the agency at the Shenandoah Road site. The Consolidated Iron & Metal site, which is bounded by South Water Street to the west and the Hudson River to the east, was used from 1960 to1999 as a car and scrap metal junk yard where metal smelting, recycling and storage operations caused the contamination of soils on the property.

The seven-acre inactive site is located in a mixed industrial, commercial and residential area. In 1999, EPA cleanup crews greatly reduced any threats of contamination moving to nearby areas by disposing of a 4,000 to 6,000 ton pile of ash/slag, which contained high levels of lead, at an EPA-approved facility.

The agency spent $1.5 million on this effort. EPA periodically proposes sites to the NPL and designates proposed sites as final. Proposed sites are investigated further to determine the extent of the risks they may pose to human health and the environment. Sites that are placed on the final NPL are eligible for long-term Aremedial action, or cleanups financed under the Superfund Trust Fund.

There are now 90 federal Superfund sites in New York. The notice of the final listing on the NPL of the Shenandoah Road Groundwater Contamination site and the Consolidated Iron & Metal site will be published in the Federal Register on June 14, 2001. Members of the public interested in obtaining copies of the notice and more detailed site descriptions, should contact the RCRA/Superfund Hotline at 1-800-424-9346 or 703-412-9810. Further information about these sites and the Superfund program in general can also be obtained online.

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