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EPA Orders Companies To Undertake Interim Action For Liberty Industrial Superfund Site Groundwater Problem in Farmingdale

Release Date: 08/04/1998
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(#98098) NEW YORK, N.Y. -- The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has ordered fourteen companies to carry out EPA's interim plan to prevent contaminated groundwater underlying the Liberty Industrial Finishing Superfund site from moving beyond the site boundaries and to reduce concentrations of volatile organic compounds and heavy metals in the groundwater. EPA deemed the companies, primarily present and former owners and operators at the property, to be potentially responsible for the contamination at the site and has been negotiating since May with these parties in an effort to have them undertake the cleanup action under the terms of an Order on Consent. Since these negotiations were unsuccessful, the cleanup directive is embodied in an EPA Superfund Unilateral Order which was issued today. (A list of the companies named in the Order is attached.)

"We are taking this legal action because we have been unable to reach a consensual agreement with the responsible parties on the terms of the cleanup," EPA Regional Administrator Jeanne M. Fox explained. "The interim cleanup action will address the most significant groundwater contamination at the site, while EPA continues to develop options for a long-term comprehensive soil and groundwater cleanup."

The interim action will involve the installation of an hydraulic system and innovative technologies for the below-ground removal of both chemical and heavy metal contaminants. EPA has also developed a contingency plan that calls for a conventional above-ground system that would extract and treat the contaminated groundwater. The back-up plan would be used if studies show the first approach is not effective in cleaning up the groundwater. The Agency estimates the first plan and the back-up plan will cost approximately $1.9 million and $4 million, respectively, to carry out.

It is EPA's goal to have the selected groundwater cleanup system operational by early next year; however, this depends on the results of studies to determine if the treatment system can meet cleanup goals, as well as EPA's ability to expedite the system design and construction.

In January, EPA held a public meeting on the interim plan in Farmingdale. The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation has reviewed the interim action plan and agrees with EPA's decision.

Currently, several responsible parties are conducting an investigation under EPA supervision to determine the extent and nature of contamination in site soils, groundwater and Massepequa Creek. These investigations are expected to be completed by late 1998. EPA will then develop long-term, comprehensive cleanup plans for the soils on the site and the groundwater contamination, which will be presented to the public for comment.


This Superfund National Priorities List site includes a 30-acre industrial park, which is surrounded by residential neighborhoods and a public park. Between 1940 and 1957 operations at the site included aircraft parts manufacturing. The federal government owned a portion of the site during World War II. From 1957 to 1978, the site was converted into an industrial park and occupied by numerous tenants, with the predominant operations being metal plating and finishing and fiberglass products manufacturing. Hazardous substances including cadmium, chromium, and trichloroethene were disposed of throughout the period of operation into unlined disposal basins and other disposal areas on the site. Approximately a dozen tenants continue to conduct operations at the site.

Investigations of the site by EPA have documented extensive contamination in soils on the western half of the industrial park and in the shallow groundwater aquifer.

For more information contact:
Richard Cahill, Press Office
EPA Region 2
290 Broadway
NY, NY 10007-1866
Voice: 212-637-3666 FAX: 212-637-5046 E-Mail: