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EPA Announces Expanded Cleanup Plan for Oyster Bay Superfund Site

Release Date: 04/14/2003
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(#03033) NEW YORK, N.Y. -- The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced today that it has expanded its plans for the cleanup at the Claremont Polychemical Corporation (CPC) Superfund Site in Oyster Bay.

"I am pleased that our expanded cleanup plan will free up additional land for productive reuse and ensure that future workers at the site are safe," said EPA Regional Administrator Jane M. Kenny.

These expanded cleanup actions modify the remedy described in the September 1990 Record of Decision (ROD) for the CPC site. EPA plans to address contaminated soil under the former CPC Process Building by using an existing soil vapor extraction (SVE) system to remove volatile organic compounds (VOCs). SVE systems clean subsurface soil by drawing volatile organic compounds (VOCs) from the soil, and piping these vapors to carbon filter units, which absorb the contaminants. The Agency will also require long-term maintenance of the building floor to limit exposure to cadmium-contaminated soil. Additionally, approximately 20,000 cubic yards of construction and demolition debris will be removed and five former wastewater treatment basins will be closed up.

The CPC site includes approximately 10 acres of land located in Old Bethpage, Nassau County. From 1966 through 1980, CPC produced pigments for the coloring of plastics, inks and coated metallic flakes, and also made vinyl stabilizers. Wastes generated included organic solvents, resins and wash wastes. The interior of the CPC Process Building and site soil and ground water were contaminated.

EPA added the site to the National Priorities List of the most contaminated hazardous waste sites in June 1986, and conducted an investigation to determine the cleanup actions that needed to be taken. Two cleanup plans, or RODs, were prepared to address different portions of the cleanup.

The first ROD, signed in 1989, required testing, treatment and disposal of deteriorated containers, the treatment basins and above-ground tanks. EPA completed this work in 1990. The second ROD, signed in 1990, included removal of underground storage tanks, treatment of tetrachloroethene (PCE) contaminated soils, extraction and treatment of ground water, and decontamination of the Process Building.

While conducting these cleanup actions, EPA and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers discovered extensive contamination in the soil under the building, including elevated levels of soil gas contaminants and cadmium. Direct exposure to cadmium can be hazardous to people's health. Soil gases were at levels likely to cause air in the building to significantly exceed EPA's acceptable levels of risk, a concern should the building be returned to use. Accurate indoor air samples could not be taken because the rooms in the building are open to the outside, preventing gas buildup within the building.

EPA evaluated options for addressing the contamination, and began a pilot study in May 2002, using a portable SVE system. The pilot showed SVE is an effective way to remove the VOCs present in the soil under the building. As part of the expanded cleanup plan, the SVE system will continue to operate in-place to remove the VOC contamination from the soil beneath the building, until protective health- based levels are reached. Additionally, the Agency has required deed restrictions and institutional controls to ensure that the floor of the building is maintained over time to prevent contact with the cadmium-contaminated soil. The final actions of removing the construction and demolition debris piles and decommissioning the water treatment pits will eliminate potential safety concerns for trespassers.

To date, EPA has spent approximately $28 million in cleanup activities at the CPC site. Estimated costs for the expanded cleanup measures are approximately $1.6 million.

Public comments regarding the changes to the cleanup plan may be addressed to the Remedial Project Manager, Maria Jon by mail to: U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, 290 Broadway, 20th Floor, New York, NY 10007-1866; by fax at (212) 637-3966, or by telephone (212) 637-3967.