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EPA Seeks Public Comment On Cleanup Plan For Contaminated Sediments in the St. Lawrence River Near The Reynolds Metal Company Facility in Massena, NY

Release Date: 07/29/1998
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(#98094) NEW YORK, N.Y. -- The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is seeking public comment and will hold a public meeting on proposed changes to its 1993 plan to cleanup chemically contaminated sediments in the St. Lawrence River adjacent to the Reynolds Metals Company (RMC) facility in Massena, New York. This new proposed plan, which would be equally protective of human health and the environment, would not change the cleanup goals established for the St. Lawrence River sediments but proposes off-site disposal and treatment, rather than on-site treatment for the more contaminated sediments. This site is being addressed under EPA's national Superfund program.

EPA's proposed plan consists of dredging approximately 77,600 cubic yards of river sediments contaminated with several chemicals, including polychlorinated biphenyls(PCBs) above 1 part per million (ppm). After dredging, contaminated sediments with PCB levels below 50 ppm would be safely disposed of on-site. Sediments with PCB levels between 50 and 500 ppm, would be shipped off-site for disposal at an approved landfill. The most contaminated dredged material, with PCB levels above 500 ppm, would be sent to an appropriate off-site facility for treatment. This new plan differs from the original remedy EPA selected in 1993, which called for the on-site treatment and/or disposal of all the contaminated dredged sediments. The plan will cost an estimated $63 million and take one to two years to complete.

The RMC facility is an active aluminum production plant where past operations have resulted in the chemical contamination of plant property and the adjacent river system. The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (NYSDEC) has developed and overseen the separate remedy to address contamination on the RMC facility.

The comment period on EPA's proposed cleanup plan for river sediments will start on July 30 and extends to September 2. The public meeting, at which EPA experts will discuss the proposal and take comments, will be held on August 28, starting at 6PM at the Massena Public Library. EPA has also scheduled a public availability session for August 13, from 5PM to 7PM at the St. Regis Housing Authority Auditorium in Hogansburg, New York to discuss individual questions or concerns that the public may have.

The NYSDEC has reviewed EPA's new plan and agrees with the proposal.

The river system consists of specific portions of the St. Lawrence, Raquette and Grasse Rivers which border the RMC facility. It was the focus of a 1989 EPA Superfund Administrative Order under which the company initiated a number of investigations into the extent and nature of chemical contamination. The investigation showed that PCBs and other contaminants are present in the St. Lawrence River sediments near the RMC facility at concentrations which pose a threat to human health and wildlife. The greatest health risk is associated with the ingestion of PCB-contaminated fish caught in the St. Lawrence River by residents and anglers.

The public should send written comments to Remedial Project Manager Mark Purcell at USEPA, Region 2, 20th Floor, 290 Broadway, New York, N.Y. 10007-1866. Site-related documents and copies of the proposed cleanup plan are available for public review at the Massena Public Library and the St. Regis Mohawk Tribe, Environmental Division, Health Services Building in Hogansburg, New York.

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: