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Reynolds Metals Company 

Site Description

The 1600 acre Reynolds Metals Company facility has been an active aluminum production plant since 1958. As a result of production activities and plant expansion, various types of industrial waste were disposed throughout the facility. Major areas of contamination on the facility are being investigated and remediated under the authority of the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (NYSDEC).

The Reynolds facility is bordered on the north by the St. Lawrence River and on the south by the Raquette River. In addition to contamination throughout the facility, Reynolds also discharged contaminants to the St. Lawrence River through four permitted outfalls. As a result of these discharges, sediments in the St. Lawrence River adjacent to the Reynolds facility have been contaminated with polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), aluminum, furans, and polyaromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs).

The site is approximately one mile upriver from the St. Regis Mohawk Indian Reservation, Akwesasne. The City of Cornwall, Ontario, with approximately 50,000 residents, is 2 miles north across the St. Lawrence River, and the Village of Massena, with a population of 13,000, is located 8 miles to the east.

Site Responsibility: The contaminated sediments in the St. Lawrence River are being addressed through Federal and potentially responsible parties' actions. Contaminated plant property and groundwater are being addressed through State and potentially responsible parties' actions.


This is a Non-NPL Site. Actions are being taken at this site to coordinate with work at the General Motors (Central Foundry Division) NPL Site.

Threats and Contaminants

PCBs are the primary contaminant found in St. Lawrence River sediment adjacent to the Reynolds facility. The highest concentrations of PCBs were detected in sediments located within 500 feet of Reynolds outfalls. Other contaminants, including furans, aluminum, cyanide, and PAHs are generally found in a pattern similar to that of PCBs. PCBs which are present in sediment may migrate downstream or dissolve slowly into the River. The consumption of fish and wildlife from contaminated areas is of concern because of the tendency of PCBs to accumulate in the fatty tissues of fish and wildlife. In addition, individuals ingesting or touching contaminated sediments potentially are at risk. Public water supply systems are not contaminated.

Cleanup Approach

This site is being addressed through one longterm remedial action focused on cleanup of St. Lawrence River sediment.

Response Action Status

Remediation of River Sediment: The final cleanup remedy that was selected by the EPA in 1993 includes dredging contaminated sediment followed by onsite treatment of the majority of the sediments by thermal desorption. Treatment residuals and untreated sediment with low-level PCB contamination will be disposed on-site. Reynolds began engineering design of this remedy in fall 1993. Cleanup actions, including river dredging of contaminated sediments, are currently scheduled to begin in summer 1997.

Site Facts: In November 1989, the EPA issued a Unilateral Order to Reynolds requiring Reynolds to undertake an investigation of contamination in the river system surrounding its Massena facility. The Order also included design and implementation of EPA's final cleanup remedy. Reynolds is currently complying with the Order.

Reynolds has requested that EPA modify its remedy for the Site to allow for off-site disposal, rather than treatment, of highly contaminated dredged sediments. EPA is reviewing this request. EPA will only allow containment of this material if it can be done in a manner which is protective of human health and the environment.

Environmental Progress

The first phase dredging program, scheduled to begin in 1996, will result in the removal of the most highly contaminated sediments from the St. Lawrence River.


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