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Major Work Complete at St. Lawrence County Superfund Site

Release Date: 01/25/2006
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(#06004) NEW YORK -- All of the construction work needed to treat contaminated ground water under the Sealand Restoration Superfund site in the town of Lisbon, New York has been completed, the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced today. With EPA oversight, a group of responsible parties has installed a system to treat the ground water, which is contaminated by volatile organic compounds. EPA will ensure that the responsible parties continue to monitor the system and make sure it is working properly. In the 1980's, New York State and St. Lawrence County excavated the drums and soil that had contaminated the ground water.

"We now have control of the contamination at this site well in hand," said EPA Regional Administrator Alan J. Steinberg. "We will continue to monitor the site to make sure that the cleanup is successful."

In 1979, the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (NYSDEC) issued a permit to Sealand Restoration, Inc. to accept and dispose of uncontaminated waste, petroleum waste and mineral oils. NYSDEC determined in 1980 that Sealand Restoration was violating its permit by accepting wastes not specified in its permit, and the state ordered the facility to cease operation. In 1981, Sealand Restoration entered into an agreement with NYSDEC to address the contamination at the site. Shortly after entering into the agreement, the company filed for bankruptcy.

The site was the subject of several cleanup efforts prior to EPA listing it on the National Priorities List of the most hazardous waste sites in August 1990. These efforts focused on two locations known as the "Cell Disposal Area" and the "Drum Storage Area." Using funds appropriated by the New York State legislature, in 1984, the county removed surface waste from the Cell Disposal Area and from the Drum Storage Area in 1986 and 1987. From 1989 to 1990, NYSDEC removed contaminated soils, buried drums, and wastewater from the Cell Disposal Area, and then backfilled the area with clean soil and covered it with a multilayered cap.

In August 1995, EPA completed a study to determine the nature and extent of contamination in on-site ground water, surface water and sediment, and to evaluate alternatives for addressing this contamination. In September 1995, the agency selected a plan to address contaminated ground water. EPA's study showed that the surface water and sediment did not pose a risk. The agency's plan included building a system for pumping contaminated ground water out of the ground and treating it, as well as allowing contaminants in the direction of ground water flow to decrease naturally.

Five responsible parties entered into an agreement with EPA to design and implement the plan selected by the agency; that agreement became effective in February 1998. Further testing, however, showed that the plan would not be as effective as first thought. EPA modified its plan in October 2001, specifying that some of the ground water would be cleaned up using an underground barrier system called a permeable reactive barrier, which allows ground water to flow naturally flow through a special material capable of removing contaminants. In October 2005, EPA documented that construction of this system was completed.

For information about the Superfund program, please visit the EPA Web site at: