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York Oil Company

Other Names:
Pierce Dump

Site Description

The York Oil Company recycled waste oil at this 17acre site, 1 mile northwest of Moira, from 1962 until 1975. The facility's operators collected crankcase industrial oils, some containing polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), from sources throughout New England and New York. They stored or processed the oils at the site in eight aboveground storage tanks, three earthen dammed settling lagoons, and at least one underground storage tank. The recycled PCB contaminated oil either was sold as No. 2 fuel oil or was used in dust control for the unpaved roads in the vicinity of the site. During heavy rains and spring thaws, the oilwater mixture from the lagoons often would overflow onto surrounding lands and into adjacent wetlands, which the company purchased in 1964. Contamination at the site first was reported by a state road crew in 1979. In 1982, the County assumed title because of unpaid property taxes. Approximately 1,700 people live within a 3mile radius of the site; 400 live within a mile. Residents rely on private wells for drinking water; 13 wells exist within 1/2 mile of the site. Recent sampling of well water in the area has revealed no site related contaminants.

Site Responsibility: This site is being addressed through federal, state, and potentially responsible parties' actions.


Proposed Date: 07/01/82
Final Date: 09/01/83

Threats and Contaminants

Ground water, soils, sludge, sediments, and surface water are contaminated with phenolics, heavy metals, volatile organic compounds, and PCBs. The ground water used by area residents for drinking water is not contaminated; however, there is a potential that pollutants may migrate and reach the private wells. Direct contact with or ingestion of contaminated surface water, sediments, soil, or sludge may pose a health risk. Wetlands near the site are sensitive environments that may be threatened by contaminants. Despite some cleanup actions, PCB contamination remains at the site and in the wetlands. The wildlife inhabiting the wetlands also may be harmed by pollutants from the site.

Cleanup Approach

The site is being addressed in three stages: emergency actions and two longterm remedial phases focusing on source control and contamination pathways.

Response Action Status

Emergency Actions: In 1980, EPA began emergency cleanup activities at the site. It secured the site to limit access and to reduce the threat of direct contact with hazardous substances and removed oil and contaminated water from the lagoons, which then were filled with a concrete byproduct and sand. The top 3 feet of oil soaked soil were excavated from the neighboring wetlands. Contaminated oil was transferred to aboveground storage tanks, and contaminated soil was contained on-site. Contaminated water from one of the lagoons was treated and discharged into the wetlands. An interceptor trench was dug to alter the flow of surface water and ground water. In 1983, EPA conducted additional emergency actions including the collection of oil seeping into drainage ditches, the installation of a new filter fence system, and the posting of warning signs. EPA developed a schedule for collecting oily leachate and replacing sorbent pads and began monitoring the site. In August 1992, EPA stabilized leaking tanks and drums. In December 1994, EPA removed PCB-contaminated oil and drums of PCB-contaminated debris from the site, and decontaminated, cut up, and disposed of off-site several waste oil storage tanks. In December 1995, EPA installed another interceptor trench to collect oil seeping into the wetlands.

Source Control: Upon completion of a remedial investigation and feasibility study (RI/FS) conducted to determine the nature and extent of contamination at the site and to evaluate remedial alternatives in 1988, EPA selected a remedy for controlling the source of the contamination. It features: (1) excavating approximately 22,000 cubic yards of contaminated soils and 8,000 cubic yards of contaminated sediments and solidifying this material on-site; (2) installing deep ground water drawdown wells at the edges of the site to collect the sinking contaminated plume; (3) installing shallow dewatering wells to collect contaminated ground water and oil during excavation; (4) treating these liquids and discharging the clean ground water in accordance with state environmental requirements; (5) removing about 25,000 gallons of contaminated tank oils, as well as other oils collected at the site, to an EPA approved facility to be incinerated; (6) cleaning and demolishing the empty storage tanks; (7) backfilling the solidified soil into the excavated areas; and (8) inspecting the site every five years to assure that human health and the environment continue to be protected.

The source control remedial design was completed in June 1999; construction started in July 1999. The contaminated soils and sediments have been excavated, solidified, and placed under a temporary cap, and the groundwater extraction and treatment system has been installed.

OffSite Contamination: The first stage of the longterm cleanup dealt, primarily, with the source control. The second phase studied the Contamination Pathways, particularly the lead- and PCB contaminated wetlands. The State began an intensive study of the problem in 1986, which was continued by EPA in September 1988. In September 1998, EPA selected a remedy for the Contamination Pathways. It features the excavation of contaminated sediments, followed by solidification/stabilization and on-site disposal, natural attenuation of the groundwater contamination, institutional controls to prevent the installation and use of groundwater wells, and long-term groundwater monitoring. The remedial design was completed in September 1999; it is anticipated that construction will commence in the Summer of 2000.

In November 1999, EPA issued a Five Year Review Report, which concluded that the interim remedies that have been implemented at the site have addressed the immediate threat to human health and the environment, and the final remedies, when completed, in combination with institutional controls, will render the site fully protective of human health and the environment. EPA will conduct another Five Year Review on or before November 2004.

Site Facts: A Consent Decree was signed by EPA and several PRPs in 1990 in which they agreed to perform the engineering design and the implementation of the source control remedy. The Consent Decree was lodged in federal district court in June 1991. In response to substantive comments that were received from non-settling PRPs during the public comment period, a revised Consent Decree was lodged on May 15, 1992. In 1993, it was decided to withdraw this Consent Decree and attempt a global settlement with all of the PRPs. In December 1994, a revised Consent Decree was signed by EPA and an expanded group of PRPs. This Consent Decree was entered by the U.S. District Court (approved by the Judge) on August 10, 1996. A Consent Decree for the Contamination Pathways was executed by EPA and the PRPs on May 2, 2000.

The PRPs commenced a Contamination Pathways RI/FS in May 1992, pursuant to a Consent Order. A Unilateral Administrative Order was issued to the PRPs in December 1998 to carry out the design and implementation of the selected remedy for the Contamination Pathways.

Cleanup Progress

(Threat Mitigated by Physical Clean Up Work; Construction of the Long-Term Remedies Underway)

EPA erected a security fence to limit access to the site and performed numerous emergency removal actions and some remedial activities which have significantly reduced the potential for exposure to hazardous materials at the York Oil Company site while cleanup actions for onsite contamination are designed and further studies of offsite contamination are taking place. The actions that have been performed at the site, to date, have resulted in the removal of approximately 27,000 gallons of PCB contaminated oil/water and 230 drums of PCB contaminated debris from the site. In addition, 15,000 tons of steel from waste oil storage tanks was decontaminated, cut up, and disposed of off-site.

To date, approximately 21,000 tons of contaminated soils have been excavated and treated on the Site Proper. It is anticipated that the Contamination Pathways remedial action related to the excavation and treatment of approximately 18,000 tons of contaminated sediments will commence in the spring of 2000.

Site Repositories

Moira Town Hall, N. Lawrence Road, Moira, NY 12957

EPA Region II Superfund Records Center, 290 Broadway, 18th Floor, New York, NY 10007-1866


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