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EPA Selects Cleanup Action For Contaminated Soils And Sediments At The General Motors Superfund Site in Massena, New York

Release Date: 03/25/1999
Contact Information: Rich Cahill (212) 637-3666 /

(#99042) NEW YORK, N.Y. -- The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has modified its 1990 cleanup plan for the General Motors (GM) Superfund site to facilitate the cleanup of three chemically-contaminated areas at the GM - Central Foundry Division facility in Massena, New York. The action will involve the removal and off-site disposal, rather than the on-site treatment, of an estimated 18,000 cubic yards of material, which are contaminated with polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) above 10 parts per million (ppm) as a result of past GM operations at the site.

"We worked closely with the St. Regis Mohawk Tribe and New York State to develop this plan, which is another huge step forward in our efforts to clean up the site. The first trainload of contaminated material will leave the site for out-of-state disposal this summer," said EPA Regional Administrator Jeanne M. Fox. "This plan allows for progress on the river sediments and groundwater -- the most environmentally sensitive areas of the site -- while we continue to work toward an acceptable solution for other areas of the site. This plan is also proof positive that EPA has listened and responded to public concerns and that the Agency is committed to protecting the environment and health of the communities near federal Superfund sites."

GM, with EPA oversight, completed the removal of PCB sediments from the St. Lawrence River in 1995. These sediments have been stored on the site pending the resolution of the strong public opposition to a Post-Decision Proposed Plan released by EPA in 1995 that called for the on-site treatment of PCB-contaminated materials above 500 ppm and on-site disposal of PCB- contaminated materials below 500 ppm. EPA withdrew that plan this past summer and replaced it with another plan, which formed the basis of this modification. Materials with PCB concentrations of one to10 ppm will be contained on the site in the East Disposal Area, which will be covered with an engineered cap. Materials with PCB concentrations above 10 ppm will be disposed of at licensed out-of-state facilities. This plan will also include sediments that will be dredged from the Raquette River starting this summer, and soils that are excavated during the installation of a groundwater control system at the site.

Site Background
The successful dredging of PCB-contaminated sediments in the St. Lawrence River is viewed as a national model for other federal Superfund sites with PCB-contaminated river sediment problems. Under an existing EPA Superfund Order, GM constructed an enhanced system to control the overland movement of PCB-contaminated water runoff on the site in the Summer of 1994.

GM has operated an aluminum die-casting plant at the site since 1959. Until 1980, PCBs were a component of hydraulic fluids used in die-casting machines at the GM facility. PCBs provided protection against fire and thermal degradation in the high temperature environment of the die casting machines. GM no longer uses the die-casting process or PCBs at the facility; however, PCB-contaminated materials remain at the site.

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: