The EPA has announced that it will be add additional treatment technology to the Dewey Loeffel Landfill site in Nassau, New York by November 2014 to address the long-term treatment of 1,4-dioxane, a stabilizer and solvent that is a component of some cosmetics, detergents and shampoos.
The plant began operations in January 2014 to treat liquids seeping from the landfill, called leachate, and contaminated groundwater.
Since the treatment plant began operating, the EPA has required that treated water be stored in a series of three on-site storage tanks and tested before each individual tank is discharged to the Valatie Kill. This tank-by-tank process will continue until seven to 10 days before delivery of the new treatment system, which is expected to take place in late October.
For the new system to be installed, the storage tanks at the site will need to be removed. At that time, the EPA will approve direct discharge from the plant to the Valatie Kill if sampling data continues to meet the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation discharge limits.
Between 1952 and 1968 the Dewey Loeffel Landfill site was used for the disposal of an estimated 46,000 tons of waste materials generated by a number of companies, including General Electric, Bendix (now Honeywell) and Schenectady Chemicals (now SI Group). The waste included industrial solvents, waste oils, polychlorinated biphenyls, scrap materials, sludge and solids.
Volatile organic compounds and other hazardous substances have since seeped out of the landfill and contaminated the groundwater, which is difficult to correct. PCBs have also moved downstream, causing contamination of sediment and several species of fish in and near Nassau Lake.
The treatment plant was built and is being operated by the two companies responsible for the cleanup, GE and SI Group, under a 2012 agreement with the EPA. Building the plant was one step in addressing potential risks to human health and the environment, but it may not be the final cleanup action for the site. In November 2013 GE and SI Group agreed to conduct comprehensive studies of the contamination at the site. After these comprehensive studies are completed, the EPA will further evaluate cleanup options.
Photo Credit: Landfill via Shutterstock