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Construction of Water Supply System Underway in Ulster County
Release Date: 11/21/2005
FOR RELEASE: Monday, November 21, 2005
(#05141) NEW YORK – The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) today joined other federal, state and local officials in High Falls, New York to highlight construction of a public water supply system for the newly created High Falls Water District. The High Falls Water District will serve portions of the towns of Marbletown and Rosendale, where well water has been affected by contaminants related to past industrial activities at the Mohonk Road Industrial Plant Superfund site. Ground water in the area is contaminated with volatile organic compounds (VOCs) including 1,1-dichloroethene (DCE), 1,1-dichloroethane (DCA), 1,1,1-trichloroethane (TCA) and trichloroethene (TCE). EPA has already begun work on a facility that will treat the raw water supplied by the Catskill Aqueduct, part of the New York City reservoir system. Today's event, held at the New York City Department of Environmental Protection facility on Canal Road called the Siphon House, marks the start of the work necessary to connect to the Aqueduct.
"Working together with the state and local authorities, we first took steps to protect the health of people facing immediate risks from the contaminated ground water," said EPA Regional Administrator Alan J. Steinberg. "Now we are working to make sure that the affected communities will have a permanent, reliable source of safe drinking water."
The Mohonk Road site includes 14.5 acres of property in High Falls, New York. Industrial activities which took place at the site included metal finishing, wet spray painting, and manufacturing of computer frames, card punch machines and store display fixtures. The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (NYSDEC) began investigating the site in 1994, and found that ground water was contaminated with VOCs. To address immediate health threats, the NYSDEC installed carbon filters on private wells where the levels of contaminants in the water exceeded New York State drinking water standards.
EPA placed the site on the National Priorities List of the nation's most hazardous waste sites in January 1999, and in June of that year the agency began to build a system to pump the most highly contaminated ground water out of the ground and treat it. This system began operating in May 2000, and since that time has treated over 36 million gallons of contaminated ground water.
In March 2000, EPA selected an overall cleanup plan for the site that includes operating and maintaining the aforementioned ground water treatment system, excavating contaminated soils from the site and disposing of them off-site, and providing a permanent supply of safe drinking water. The cleanup plan also provided for installing and maintaining carbon filters on impacted or threatened private wells until the permanent water supply system became available.
In the fall of 1999 and 2000, the agency excavated and removed over 2,500 tons of contaminated soil and waste materials from the site. Earlier this year, EPA completed the design of the water supply system. EPA continues to operate and maintain the on-site ground water treatment system, monitor private wells, and maintain the carbon filters installed on impacted or threatened private wells.
For additional information about the Mohonk Road Industrial Plant Superfund site, please visit the EPA Web site at https://www.epa.gov/region02/superfund/npl/0203945c.pdf.