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EPA's Cleanup Plan Will Remove and Dispose of Waste Contaminated with Chemicals and Heavy Metals at the Butternuts Landfill in Otsego County

Release Date: 10/03/2000
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(#00176) NEW YORK, N.Y. — The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has selected a cleanup plan that will eliminate the threat to public health and the environment posed by hazardous substances at the Butternuts Landfill off South Berlin Road in Otsego County, New York. This action entails the excavation of automobile shredder residue, including shredded automobile plastic, rubber and fabrics, as well as exposed soils contaminated with polychlorinated biphynyls (PCBs) and lead. Some metals in the excavated material will be recycled, and the remaining materials will be taken to an EPA-approved facility for disposal.

Prior to 1987, the landfill had been used for the sporadic disposal of automobile bodies, parts and tires, household appliances and construction/demolition debris. In 1987, approximately 1,000 cubic yards of construction and demolition wastes, as well as automobile parts and automobile shredder material was spread over approximately 9,000 square feet at the landfill. The dumping of the material prompted an investigation by New York State agencies that led to the termination of disposal activities at the site. A joint investigation of the site in 1997 by state and federal agencies led to EPA’s study of various cleanup methods to correct the problems at the site.

EPA Regional Administrator Jeanne M. Fox explained, "Without the federal Superfund, communities like the Town of Butternuts have no place to turn when faced with a serious hazardous waste problem. We are hopeful that our negotiations with those parties that are responsible for the disposal of the hazardous substances will result in a settlement, and they will perform the necessary work under EPA oversight. In the meantime, EPA will continue to move forward to address the contamination at the Butternuts Landfill. That’s our first priority."

EPA estimates that the cleanup action will cost approximately $266,000 and take about four months to complete. Once post-excavation sampling indicates that all the hazardous waste has been removed, the area will be backfilled, as necessary, and covered with a 6-inch layer of topsoil. A grass cover will be planted immediately after the topsoil is in place.

The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation has reviewed the cleanup plan and concurs with EPA’s decision. EPA held a public meeting in nearby Gilbertsville to discuss the plan with the community on August 30, and the comment period on the proposal ran from August 15 to September 14, 2000.