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Feds Okay $3.1 Million Private Party Cleanup at Federal Superfund Site in Cortland; EPA Also Acts With City on Site's Redevelopment

Release Date: 02/23/1999
Contact Information: Rich Cahill (212) 637-3666 /

(#99028) NEW YORK, N.Y. -- The federal government has reached a proposed settlement with parties responsible for pollution at the Rosen Brothers federal Superfund site in Cortland, New York, a former steel plant and scrap metal processing business. Under the settlement, the responsible parties will carry out a $3.1 million cleanup of the site under the supervision of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA); the responsible parties would also reimburse the federal government for past costs incurred by EPA in the cleanup of extensive contamination at the site. EPA also announced that it has finalized an agreement with Cortland that will boost the redevelopment of the site.

EPA Regional Administrator Jeanne M. Fox hailed the settlement as another example of the success of EPA's Superfund enforcement program and commented on the recent agreement with Cortland. "This agreement reflects several important goals of the Superfund program -- to clean up pollution, to reimburse the Superfund Trust Fund and to return formerly contaminated property to productive use. The cleanup and redevelopment of the site will ultimately provide meaningful economic and other benefits to the Cortland community."

EPA recently signed a Prospective Purchaser/Tenant Agreement with Cortland which will enable the city to redevelop a portion of the site. The New York, Susquehanna and Western Railway Corporation (NYSWRC) will lease a 5-acre parcel of the site from the city, which it will use to transfer rail cargo to trucks. The Agreement requires the city to institute deed restrictions preventing residential use,use of groundwater wells and unauthorized excavations.

The settlement on the cleanup, which is embodied in a proposed Consent Decree lodged last week in federal district court in Syracuse by the U.S. Department of Justice on behalf of EPA, is subject to a 30-day public comment period prior to becoming final. The Consent Decree has been signed by 15 settling defendants, which includes a group of parties that did not pay for the previous site investigations and studies. They have agreed to finance the cleanup that EPA selected this year for the federal Superfund site. Settling parties that financed the site investigations and studies would only share in reimbursing the federal government $685,568 for EPA's past actions at the site, but would not pay for the upcoming site cleanup.

The cleanup plan calls for digging up contaminated soils and either capping the material on-site in accordance with strict New York State regulations or disposing of it off-site, depending on the contaminant level. The group financing the cleanup will also be responsible for monitoring the reduction of groundwater contamination which is expected to occur through a natural process of dilution and biodegradation, called natural attenuation.

Site Description

The 20-acre site is approximately 30 miles south of Syracuse. From the late 1800s until 1970, a steel plant operated at the site causing heavy metal and chemical contamination of soils and groundwater. From 1970 through 1981, scrap metal processing at the site caused more contamination.

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: