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News Releases from Region 02

EPA Proposes to Add Dutchess County Creek, N.Y. to the Federal Superfund List, Sediment Contaminated with Mercury, Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons

Contact Information: 
Elias Rodriguez (rodriguez.elias@epa.gov)

(New York, N.Y.) The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency today proposed adding the Wappinger Creek in Dutchess County, N.Y. to its Superfund National Priorities List of the country's most hazardous waste sites. Sediment within the two mile long tidal portion of the creek, which is downstream from an industrial park, is contaminated with mercury, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons and other pollutants. Mercury in sediment can build up in the tissue of fish and other wildlife and pose a threat to people who eat them. Exposure to mercury can damage people's nervous systems and harm the brain, heart, kidneys, lungs and immune system. Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons are a group of chemicals that are formed during the incomplete burning of coal, oil, gas or other organic substances that can cause cancer.

"Wappinger Creek is used for fishing and recreation by residents of Dutchess County," said Judith Enck, EPA Regional Administrator. "By placing this site on the Superfund list, the EPA can take action to restore this creek and protect people's health and the environment."

For more than 180 years, an industrial park along the creek was used for textile dyeing, manufactured gas plant operations, metal plating, ammunition production, chemical manufacturing and other businesses. These industrial activities contaminated the creek and surrounding communities. There have been several investigations and cleanups within the industrial park, however, contamination adjacent to and downstream of the industrial park still presents a risk. The portion of Wappinger Creek being proposed includes parts of the village of Wappingers Falls and the towns of Poughkeepsie and Wappinger.

The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation recommended including this site on the federal Superfund list. The EPA determined that inclusion in the federal Superfund program is the best course of action to clean up the contamination. The Superfund final designation makes them eligible for funds to conduct long-term cleanups.

The Superfund program operates on the principle that polluters should pay for the cleanups rather than passing the costs on to taxpayers. The EPA searches for parties legally responsible for contaminating a site, and holds those parties accountable for cleanup costs.

For Federal Register notices and supporting documents for these final and proposed sites, on the day of publication visit: http://www.epa.gov/superfund/sites/npl/current.htm

With the proposal of this site to the NPL, a 60-day comment period will begin during which EPA solicits public input regarding this action. For instructions to submit comments, go to: http://www.epa.gov/superfund/sites/npl/pubcom.htm

Comments can be submitted, identified by Docket number by one of the following methods:
Docket number (EPA-HQ-OLEM-2016-0155) for the site.
http://www.regulations.gov: Follow the online instructions for submitting comments.
Email: superfund.docket@epa.gov

Mail: Mail comments (no facsimiles or tapes) to Docket Coordinator, Headquarters; U.S. Environmental Protection Agency; CERCLA Docket Office; (Mail Code 5305T); 1200 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW; Washington, DC 20460

Hand Delivery or Express Mail: Send comments (no facsimiles or tapes) to Docket Coordinator, Headquarters; U.S. Environmental Protection Agency; CERCLA Docket Office; 1301 Constitution Avenue, NW; EPA West, Room 3334, Washington, DC 20004. Such deliveries are only accepted during the Docket's normal hours of operation (8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday, excluding Federal holidays).

For more information on the NPL Site listing process, visit: http://www.epa.gov/superfund/sites/npl/current.htm or contact Ildefonso Acosta, Region 2 NPL Coordinator, at 212-637-4344, acosta.ildefonso@epa.gov