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Private Firms Agree To Pay For Cleanup Of Their Properties at Federal Superfund Site in Olean, New York

Release Date: 04/22/1998
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(#98034)NEW YORK, N.Y. -- The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has reached three separate agreements with a total of five companies to pay for the cleanup of chemical contamination at three properties in Olean, New York. During the 1980s, the contamination made water from private wells and municipal systems in Olean unsafe to drink. From 1983 to 1985, EPA used its Superfund Removal authority to install individual carbon filter units at 32 residences affected by the contamination.

EPA expects that the sources remediation work will begin after the designs for the cleanups are completed. The settlements are embodied in three separate Consent Decrees, which were recently entered in Federal District Court in Buffalo by the U.S. Department of Justice acting on behalf of EPA.

By 1990 approximately 95 private well users had been hooked up to the municipal water supply system where two air strippers were used to treat the contaminated water and protect public health. This work was performed by the responsible parties with EPA oversight. Sources of the contamination still remain at the Olean Well Field Superfund site in the Allegheny River valley requiring a second phase of the Superfund cleanup. It involves removing the sources of the contamination on three properties within the site.

"The cleanup, when completed, will prevent the additional movement of contaminants from the sites and provide protections against the kind of pollution that once eliminated a valuable source of drinking water for this community. It is our intent that the past and future actions at the site will help restore this natural resource," EPA Regional Administrator Jeanne M. Fox pointed out.

Under the terms of the Consent Decree, the companies, the Alcas Cutlery Corporation and Alcoa, the AVX Corporation, and McGraw- Edison and Cooper Industries, that own or previously owned or operated the three facilities identified as the sources of the contamination, will undertake appropriate remedies for the specific contamination found at their respective properties. These range from excavation and/or treatment of contaminated soils to the extraction of chemicals from the groundwater itself. The soil removal actions should be completed by the year 2000. The treatment of contaminated groundwater will continue for a period of approximately 30 years. EPA estimates the cost of cleanup work to be carried out by Alcas and Alcoa will be $840 thousand. The work to be performed by AVX is expected to cost $380 thousand; and, the cost of the work to be conducted by McGraw-Edison and Cooper Industries will be roughly $940 thousand.

The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (NYSDEC)reviewed EPA's cleanup plan and concurred with the Agency's decision.

The Loohns Cleaners and Launderers has also been identified as a source of the VOC contamination of the groundwater, but EPA will be performing the removal of the contaminated soils on this property.

Sandburg Oil and Griffith Oil also contributed petroleum-related contamination to the groundwater. That contamination problem is being addressed by the NYSDEC.

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: