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U.S. EPA Issues Order to 28 Parties to Participate in Cleanup of Li Tungsten Superfund Site, Announces Agreement with City of Glen Cove

Release Date: 10/18/2000
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(#00192) NEW YORK, N.Y. – The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has issued a Superfund Unilateral Order (UAO) directing 28 parties it believes are legally responsible for contamination at the Li Tungsten Superfund site located along Glen Cove Creek on Long Island to perform a significant portion of the $28 million cleanup of the site. In a separate action, EPA has reached an agreement with the city of Glen Cove where the city has agreed to pay up to $3 million toward the cleanup of the Captain’s Cove portion of the Li Tungsten Superfund site.

A portion of the Captain’s Cove property, a former 23-acre municipal dump, is included within the site, along with the former Li Tungsten facility property. The city operated and owned a portion of the Captain’s Cove property, which is located about mile west of the former Li Tungsten facility property. The city agreed to finance the cleanup work in an effort to expedite returning the Captain’s Cove property to beneficial commercial use. The arrangement with the city is embodied in an administrative agreement.

EPA is currently performing part of the cleanup of the Li Tungsten Property with Superfund monies. EPA Regional Administrator Jeanne M. Fox explained, "The city has come forward to pay some of the cleanup costs for the radionuclide-contaminated soils at the Captain’s Cove property. EPA is ordering others with responsibility for the contamination at the site to make up the difference, as well as perform the remaining cleanup work at the former Li Tungsten facility property."

Ms. Fox added, "Actions like this help extend the resources of Superfund by making the polluter pay. When private financing of Superfund cleanups is achieved, money from the program's Trust Fund can go to fund cleanups at sites where viable responsible parties have not been found."

Those ordered to participate in the cleanup include:

    1. Adamas Carbide Corporation
    2. Advanced Metallurgy, Inc., a.k.a. AMI DoDuco, Inc.
    3. Alloy Carbide Company
    4. American National Carbide Company
    5. Carbidie, Inc.
    6. Chi Mei Corporation
    7. Contacts, Metals and Welding, Inc., a.k.a. CMW, Inc.
    8. County of Nassau, New York
    9. Cyprus Amax Minerals Company
    10. Electrical Contacts, Ltd.
    11. Ex-Cell-O Machine Tool, Inc.
    12. Fansteel, Inc.
    13. General Electric Company
    14. General Carbide Corporation
    15. Hughes Christensen Company, Inc.
    16. Hydro Carbide Corporation
    17. Kennametal Inc.
    18. Kulite Tungsten Corporation
    19. Minmetals, Inc.
    20. Philips Elmet Corporation
    21. Sandvik Inc.
    22. Teledyne, Inc.
    23. Valenite-Modco, Ltd.
    24. Vermont American Corporation
    25. Vista Metals, Inc.
    26. VR/Wesson Company,
    27. W.R. Grace & Co.
    28. Wah Chang Smelting and Refining Company of America, Inc.

Those named on the list have until October 16, 2000 to respond to EPA regarding the UAO, and they may face potential penalties of up to $27,500 per day for violating the terms of the order. The list includes former site owners, former operators, generators and transporters of hazardous substances which came to be located at the site.

Under the $28 million cleanup plan for the Li Tungsten site, approximately 47,000 tons of radioactive materials, as well as nearly 57,000 tons of chemically-contaminated soil, sediments and debris from the former tungsten processing facility will be removed and transported to appropriate off-site disposal facilities. In order to reduce the volume of material that will be disposed of as radioactive waste, appropriate techniques will be used, if possible, to separate radioactive materials from non-radioactive materials. EPA has established cleanup goals that conform with the city’s plan for the commercial redevelopment of the site.

Site Background

The Li Tungsten site includes an inactive tungsten processing facility on 26 acres of land, as well as portions of a nearby area known as the Captain's Cove property where the tungsten facility operators disposed of waste ore residuals. The processing facility was owned and/or operated by the federal government as a defense plant from 1942 into the 1950s, and by a succession of corporate entities, including the National Reconditioning Company, Wah Chang Smelting and Refining Company of America, Inc., Wah Chang Corporation, Teledyne, Inc. and Li Tungsten Corporation. The Li Tungsten Corporation declared bankruptcy in 1985.

From approximately 1958 until what is believed to be the late 1970s, the Captain's Cove property was used as a dump site for incinerator ash, sewage sludge, rubbish, household debris, Glen Cove Creek sediments, and industrial wastes. The Captain’s Cove property was purchased by Village Green Realty at Garvies Point, Inc. in 1983 for the purpose of developing condominiums. Redevelopment efforts were abandoned in the mid-1980's when the NYSDEC designated the property as a state Superfund site. The state requested that EPA address the radioactive contamination on the Captain's Cove property while the NYSDEC addressed the non-radioactive contamination. Later, EPA made a determination to include those portions of the Captain's Cove property that contain radioactive wastes as part of the Li Tungsten site after sampling showed that the wastes were similar to those at the former processing facility, and therefore, likely to have originated from there.

Other Federal Actions

In July 1989, EPA ordered the removal of drums and vats containing hazardous materials from the Li Tungsten facility by a contractor for the Glen Cove Development Company (GCDC), a private party that owned the Li Tungsten facility property at that time. Certain chemical/radiological hazards at the facility were identified and taken to an off-site location for treatment and/or disposal. These materials included various radioactive substances, laboratory chemicals, chemically-contaminated waste, and mercury. An inventory of remaining materials, including the contents of the approximately 270 tanks at the facility, also was conducted. From 1996 to1998, as a result of the deteriorating condition of the tanks, EPA addressed the hazards associated with their contents. This action involved the disposal of large volumes of waste liquid and sludge, as well as the removal and disposal of asbestos and other hazardous materials found in some of the buildings, and the demolition of the Dice Complex and the East Building. EPA has spent over $13 million dollars to date in ensuring that the dangers associated with this site are properly addressed.

EPA designated Glen Cove as a National Brownfields Showcase community in 1997 to serve as a model for other communities across the country where hazardous wastes sites are being cleaned up with an eye toward future redevelopment.

On April 22, 1999, the federal government signed an agreement that provides the Glen Cove Industrial Development Agency (IDA), which became the new owner of the Li Tungsten Superfund site in the fall of 1999, with protections against future liability for EPA’s Superfund costs for the cleanup of the site. The agreement provides the IDA with the legal protections, so it can proceed with its plans for redeveloping the site for beneficial reuse.