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EPA Announces Completion of Construction at Colesville Site

Release Date: 11/05/2004
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(#04172) NEW YORK -- The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced today the construction work needed for the cleanup of the Colesville Municipal Landfill Superfund site in Colesville, New York has been completed. The cleanup activities at the site included constructing a cap on the landfill, installing a ground water extraction and treatment system, injecting molasses into the ground water to break down volatile organic compounds (VOCs), and providing new private wells for affected residents living in the vicinity of the landfill.

"The Colesville Landfill is another Superfund success story in New York," said EPA Regional Administrator Jane M. Kenny. "We will continue to monitor the site to make sure that the community is being protected."

The Town of Colesville owned and operated the 35-acre Colesville Municipal Landfill from 1969 until 1971. Broome County took over landfill ownership in 1971, operating it until it closed in 1984. During that time, industrial wastes, including organic solvents, dyes and metals, were disposed of in the landfill. There are two streams in the drainage area of the landfill that empty into the Susquehanna River.

In 1983, samples collected by the Broome County Health Department Exit EPA disclaimerfrom residential wells in the vicinity of the site showed that the landfill was contaminating the ground water in the vicinity of the site with VOCs. The sampling results prompted the Broome County Department of Public Works to install carbon filters on wells at the affected residences and to initiate a residential well monitoring program. EPA added the site to the National Priorities List of the most contaminated hazardous waste sites in June 1986.

EPA selected a cleanup plan for the site in 1991, which included capping the landfill, extracting and treating contaminated ground water near and downhill from the landfill, and providing new private wells for nearby affected residences. Broome County and GAF Corporation, the parties potentially responsible for the contamination at the site, capped the landfill in 1995.

In 2000, EPA modified the cleanup plan after determining that, by itself, extracting contaminated ground water would not be an effective cleanup method. Instead, molasses, an easily degradable carbohydrate solution, would be injected into the contaminated ground water near the landfill. The molasses speeds up the degradation of VOCs. In 2002, Broome County implemented the modified ground water cleanup plan. Additionally, the county installed new wells on two affected residences.

During an inspection of the site, EPA found a contaminated spring and low-lying area where water collects. In 2003, Broome County installed a sand and carbon filter to remove VOCs from the water collecting there. This past summer, the county also installed an underground stone collection trench and drainage layer to prevent the contaminated spring water from seeping onto the land surface.