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FMC To Remove Arsenic Contaminated Soil From Royalton-Hartland School Yeard Starting Monday

Release Date: 06/25/1999
Contact Information: Mike Basile (716) 285-8842 /

(#99105) New York, N.Y. -- The U. S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) announced today that they have approved FMC Corporation's work plan to remove arsenic-contaminated soil from the Royalton-Hartland school yard in Middleport, New York, and that the removal project will begin Monday, June 28. The soil was contaminated by past chemical releases from the Middleport plant which is adjacent to the school yard when the plant was an active pesticide production facility. This removal project is an interim measure undertaken by FMC under EPA and DEC oversight while an environmental investigation of past releases from the plant and the selection final remedies are completed.

"We are very much looking forward to the cleanup of the Royalton-Hartland school yard," said Jeanne M. Fox, EPA Administrator for Region 2. "This project is the culmination of the hard work of many parties, and will result in a much-improved place for young athletes to play."

DEC Commissioner John P. Cahill said "I am very pleased that FMC has agreed to take immediate action to remove contaminated soils from the Royalton-Hartland school yard while a comprehensive environmental assessment of all contamination at the FMC site is being completed."

Since 1998, FMC has worked cooperatively with the agencies to implement the project. Royalton-Hartland School District officials have been instrumental in planning and making the necessary arrangements to carry out this removal with as little disruption to school activities as possible.

The need for soil removal in the school yard became apparent after DEC sampled soils in the school's football field in November 1996 and found that they contained arsenic at levels generally higher than those identified in prior school yard soil samples. In light of these results, a review of all past school yard sampling data was conducted. After conducting a detailed human health risk assessment, EPA determined in 1998 that the arsenic levels in the surface soils on and in the areas of the running track and football field posed potential health risks to student athletes ages five to 18.

In August 1998, under the federal Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) and in consultation with the New York State Department of Health (DOH), EPA and DEC requested that FMC Corporation develop a work plan to remove the arsenic-contaminated soil from the football field and surrounding areas. FMC submitted its work plan in October 1998, which was made available for public review and comment until December 11, 1998. In response to community comments and concerns, additional soil sampling was performed in April and May of 1999. The results of these samples led to an expansion of the project to remove even more arsenic-contaminated soils from the school yard.

FMC has hired a contractor to excavate and remove between six and 48 inches of arsenic-contaminated soil from approximately eight acres of the Royalton-Hartland school yard starting Monday and continuing through August 1999. This eight-acre area includes the school's football field, track & field facilities, school bus parking lot and portions of the soccer field. Approximately 13,000 cubic yards of soil will be removed and transported by truck onto the FMC plant site. After the soils are removed, FMC will reconstruct the school's sports complex and bus parking area. This reconstruction will include a new football field with bleacher seating for approximately 2,500 people, new track and field facilities with an eight-lane all-weather track, a new press box, new concession and restroom facilities and new field lighting. Since the new facilities will not be completed in time for the coming school year, FMC will construct a new football field at the school district's Gasport facility so that the Fall 1999 sports schedule will not be disrupted. The entire project is scheduled for completion in early 2000.

For more information contact:
Mike Basile, Press Office
EPA Region 2 Niagara Field Office
345 third Street
Niagara Falls, NY 14303
Voice: 716-285-8842 FAX: 716-285-8788 E-Mail: