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EPA Selects $20 Million Final Cleanup Plan for the Tri-Cities Barrel Superfund Site Near Binghamton

Release Date: 04/06/2000
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(#00054) NEW YORK, N.Y. -- The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has selected a long-term cleanup plan for contamination at the former drum reconditioning facility known as the Tri-Cities Barrel Superfund site. The cost of the cleanup plan will be approximately $20 million. Poor waste disposal practices at the facility caused significant contamination of soils, sediments and groundwater on the site, which is located next to Old Route 7 in a rural area about 5 miles northeast of Binghamton, New York. It was added to EPA's National Priorities List of the most serious hazardous waste sites in 1989.

"The goal of this final cleanup plan is to fully protect public health and the environment while making the site ready and safe for residential or agricultural use, consistent with the current zoning," said EPA Regional Administrator Jeanne M. Fox.

Under the final plan, approximately 50,000 cubic yards of soil and sediments contaminated with volatile and semi-volatile organic compounds, polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), metals and pesticides will be excavated and/or dredged and transported to a licensed off-site facility for treatment/disposal. The plan also calls for the installation of wells and a treatment unit that will extract and treat the contaminated groundwater, and then discharge the clean, treated water to surface waters in the area. Also included in the plan is long-term monitoring of the groundwater underlying the site to evaluate water quality improvements after the contaminated soils/sediments, which are the sources of the groundwater contamination, have been removed and the groundwater treatment system is operating. Although private drinking water wells in the vicinity of the site area have not been affected by the contamination, EPA's plan calls for monitoring the local groundwater beyond the site to ensure that it remains uncontaminated.

EPA will begin negotiations with the responsible parties to carry out the work in the near future. The Agency expects the excavation and dredging of the contaminated materials and transport to a treatment/disposal facility would take about six months to complete, once the work is started. The groundwater cleanup system would take about one year to construct once started.

Under a previous agreement with EPA, a group of parties deemed responsible for the contamination has already completed some cleanup work at the site, including the proper disposal of containers, tanks and drums located on the site, as well as the decontamination and demolition of the buildings and structures on the property, followed by the off-site disposal of the debris. This work was completed in January 1997.

All drum reconditioning operations at the site stopped in 1992. The process involved cleaning and reconditioning drums, which were brought to the site from numerous sources, and typically contained residues of a variety of chemical compounds used in industrial or commercial operations. The property is presently zoned residential/agricultural; the industrial use of the property was a nonconforming use (i.e., the drum reclamation facility was permitted to continue operating after a zoning ordinance prohibiting such use had been established for this area).