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EPA Removes Suffolk County Site From the Superfund List (North Sea Municipal Landfill)

Release Date: 10/5/2005
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For Release: Wednesday, October 5, 2005

(#05114) NEW YORK -- The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has cleaned up the North Sea Municipal Landfill in Southampton, New York and deleted it from the National Priorities List (NPL) of hazardous waste sites. EPA placed the landfill on the NPL in June 1986, and the site will remain eligible for cleanup in the unlikely event that a change in site conditions would warrant such an action.

"The North Sea Municipal Landfill once posed a threat to the community, but today it is one more example of a successful Superfund cleanup in New York," said EPA Regional Administrator Alan J. Steinberg. "We have now controlled the contamination, and we will continue to monitor the site to ensure that the health of the public is being protected."

The approximately 130-acre landfill was used for the disposal of municipal solid waste, refuse, and septic system waste. The landfill consists of three waste disposal cells and 14 former lagoons that were used for holding septic sludge. Two of the waste disposal cells, Cell No. 2 and Cell No. 3, are not part of the NPL site and are regulated by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation under its municipal waste landfill closure program.

Ground water sampling performed by the Town of Southampton in 1979 showed that ground water underneath the landfill was contaminated with heavy metals and volatile organic compounds. That same year, the state closed about a dozen private wells within the area of ground water contamination and provided people with a source of safe drinking water. To control the spread of pollution from the landfill, in 1985 the town capped Cell No. 1, and improved storm water drainage. Additionally, the town removed the contents of the lagoons, as well as some surrounding soil, and backfilled the excavations with sandy loam.

EPA reached an agreement with the Town of Southampton in 1987, requiring the town to perform a detailed study of the contamination present at the site. The study showed that the cap over Cell No. 1 was not effective in controlling the spread of contamination. To address this situation, EPA selected a cleanup plan for the site in September 1989, which included improving the cap over Cell No. 1, restricting access and future use of the site, sampling to confirm that no further actions were necessary for the septic sludge lagoons, and long-term air and water monitoring.

EPA reached a second agreement with the town in 1990 for the design and construction of the improved cap. In 1992, the town sampled the former septic sludge lagoons and did not find contaminated sludge. After completing construction activities in 1995, the town began a long-term program of monitoring and maintaining the landfill. Results of this program show that the cleanup plan is successfully controlling the contamination.

The Town of Southampton also performed a study to evaluate the nature and extent of off-site ground water contamination. This study showed that ground water contamination was not a threat to human health or the environment. In September 1992, EPA selected a second cleanup plan which explained that cleanup of ground water was not necessary.

For additional information about the North Sea Municipal Landfill, please visit the EPA Web site at