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Contaminated Soil Cleanup Underway At Superfund Site in Sag Harbor, Long Island

Release Date: 12/09/1998
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(#98169) New York, N.Y. -- The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced today that a system to clean chemically-contaminated soil is up and running at the Rowe Industries plant, a federal Superfund site on Bridgehampton Turnpike in Sag Harbor, Long Island. Under EPA supervision, contractors hired by the Nabisco Corporation installed and began operating a soil vapor extraction (SVE) system to remove volatile organic chemicals trapped in the soil on the site and two adjacent residences. Wells that inject air into wet soil below the water table (known as air sparging) were also installed to force the contaminants up to a level where they can be captured by the SVE system. The air sparging system will be activated in the next few months.

"This is a major milestone in EPA's mission to provide a safe and clean environment for the Sag Harbor community," EPA Regional Administrator Jeanne M. Fox said. "Within three years, this aggressive action should drastically cut the concentration of chemicals in soils that made private drinking water wells in the area unsafe." In1984, through the Superfund program, EPA was able to pay the Suffolk County Water Authority to extend public water to the affected residences.

SVE removes contaminanted soil vapors using a vacuum and a system of underground wells that pulls the contaminanted vapors to the surface. The vapors are then treated in an activated carbon unit. Since SVE cannot remove contaminants from the water-soaked soil that lies below the water table, EPA is using an air sparging system for the wet soil which bubbles air below the water table to volatilize the contaminants from the soil. These vapors will then be captured and removed by the SVE system. Air sparging works fastest at sites with coarse-grained soil, such as sand, making the Rowe Industries site ideal for the application of this technology.

The Rowe Industries site housed a small electric motor and transformer manufacturing operation that polluted the soil and groundwater before it closed in 1974. Nabisco, a responsible party, removed contaminated soil from the two adjacent residential properties last spring. The collected soil is being treated on-site prior to its shipment for off-site disposal at a licensed facility.

The design of a comprehensive approach to cleanse the contaminated groundwater will be completed in the next few months. Construction of the groundwater pump and treat system is expected to begin in late spring or early summer.

For more information contact:
Cecilia Echols, Public Affairs Specialist
EPA Region 2
290 Broadway
NY, NY 10007-1866
Voice: 212-637-3678 FAX: 212-637-4445 E-Mail: