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EPA Releases Cleanup Plan for Nepera Chemical Superfund Site

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has released a proposed plan to remove contaminated soil from the site of former lagoons at the Nepera Chemical Company Inc. Superfund site in Hamptonburgh, N.Y.

The EPA has developed three options to address contaminated soil on the 29.3-acre former industrial waste disposal facility. The agency has selected excavation and off-site disposal of the contaminated soil as its preferred alternative.

This plan amends EPA’s 2007 cleanup plan for the site, which called for excavating contaminated soil and treating the soil on-site to degrade contaminants, but not removing soil from the site. The 2007 plan also included treatment of contaminated ground water at the site. The ground water treatment activities at the site will not change under the amended plan.

The other two options for addressing the problem are excavating contaminated soil and treating it on-site using techniques to extract and break down contaminants in the soil. This option would take at least two years and cost about $3,119,000, the EPA says. The third option is taking no action, which is an option that EPA is required to consider for any cleanup plan.

“EPA’s preferred alternative for removing contaminated soil from the Nepera Chemical site is the fastest way to complete this critical phase of the site cleanup,” said EPA Regional Administrator Judith Enck. “The contaminants in this soil – especially semi-volatile and volatile organic compounds – are harmful to human health, so removing them as quickly as possible must be a priority.”

Subsurface soil at the Nepera Chemical site contains a variety of contaminants, including semi-volatile and volatile organic compounds, the EPA says. The agency says that people could potentially be harmed if they ingest or come into contact with contaminated soil or water, though ground water samples from nearby residential wells and three public supply wells have not revealed site-related contamination.

The site is fenced in order to limit the potential for exposure to surface soil contamination.

Nepera made a variety of pharmaceutical and industrial chemicals. Between 1953 and 1967, lagoons at the site received approximately 50,000 gallons of wastewater per day from the Nepera Chemical plant in Harriman, N.Y.

The six lagoons cover roughly five acres in total. State inspectors detected leaks from the lagoons in 1958 and 1960, and operations ended in December 1967. About 7,000 people live within three miles of the site.

Superfund is the EPA’s program to clean up environmentally damaged areas. Superfund sites are eligible for the use of federal funds.

In March the EPA added 10 sites to the its Superfund National Priorities List. The additions to the list took the number of Superfund sites to 1,290.

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