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EPA Proposes Site on Long Island Be Added To The Superfund National Priorities List

Release Date: 09/30/1998
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(#98135) NEW YORK, N.Y. -- The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)is proposing to add another site on Long Island to the federal Superfund National Priorities List (NPL). The The Smithtown Groundwater site is a contaminated plume of groundwater that threatens drinking water in an area that encompasses the Villages of Nissequogue, Head of the Harbor and the Hamlet of St. James. Homes in the area use private wells for drinking water. At this time, much of the area affected by the contaminated plume is not serviced by a public water supply. EPA is currently providing bottled water to the affected residents.

The proposed addition of the Smithtown Groundwater Contamination site to the NPL brings the total number of federal Superfund sites on Long Island to 24. The total number in New York state is 84.

The NPL is the federal list of the nation's worst hazardous waste sites. The Agency periodically proposes sites to the NPL and designates proposed sites as final. Proposed sites are investigated further to determine the extent of the risks they may pose to human health and the environment. Sites that are placed on the final NPL are eligible for long-term "remedial action" or cleanups financed under the Superfund Trust Fund.

According to EPA Regional Administrator Jeanne M. Fox, "The proposed listing of the Smithtown Groundwater site on Long Island will guarantee a permanent solution that will protect the area's supply of safe drinking water. Without Superfund, communities are left with no way to address the serious hazardous waste sites that threaten their local environments and economies."

The following provides some background on the site:

The SMITHTOWN GROUNDWATER CONTAMINATION site is a contaminated groundwater plume in the Smithtown area of Suffolk County, Long Island. In October 1997, EPA received a written request from the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation for assistance in funding alternative water supplies for residences affected by contaminated groundwater. Analytical data from a Suffolk County Department of Health Services (SCDHS) drinking water survey of homes in these areas indicated that several wells were contaminated with volatile organic compounds (VOCs), primarily perchloroethylene (PCE). This and subsequent county surveys indicated that 23 residences were contaminated with PCE at concentrations exceeding state and federal safety levels of 5 parts per billion (ppb). SCDHS has investigated several current and former commercial/industrial facilities (located east of the site) in the area. Based on a review of the analysis of samples taken from monitoring wells, the source or sources of the groundwater contamination have not been determined.

In April 1998, EPA sampled 295 homes in the area in an effort to determine the extent of PCE contamination and found unacceptable levels of PCE, or its breakdown products, in 34 residential wells. As a result, EPA began the delivery of bottled water to affected residences. In July 1998, EPA authorized a Superfund Removal Action at the site. For affected homes where the public water is available, EPA will be providing service connections. For affected homes where public water is not available, EPA will be providing individual carbon filter systems.

EPA is soliciting public comments on its proposed listing of the Smithtown Groundwater site on the NPL. The 60-day public comment period started yesterday when the NPL update was published in the Federal Register. Members of the public interested in obtaining copies of the notice, an updated NPL list or site descriptions and commenting on the proposed addition, please contact the RCRA/Superfund Hotline at 1-800-424-9346 or 703-412-9810. Further information about the site and the Superfund program can also be obtained from EPA's homepage:

NOTE TO EDITORS: Reporters can also contact Rich Cahill at (212) 637-3666 for the above information.

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: