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The nine-acre Crown Cleaners Site is a former dry-cleaning and laundry facility located in the Village of Herrings, Jefferson County on New York State Route 3. The site is located approximately 300 feet south of the Village of Herrings public water supply well, to the east and west of residential properties and vacant land and to the north of the Black River.
From 1890 until the mid-1960s, the site was used by the St. Regis Paper Co. to produce paper bags. In the late 1970s the property was purchased by Crown Cleaners of Watertown, Inc. and was operated until 1991 as a dry cleaning and laundry facility. Tetrachlororethene (PCE) and machine oils and greases were used in the dry cleaning process. In 1991, the state of New York discovered that the village of Herrings’ public water supply was contaminated and subsequently installed a treatment system for the village drinking water well to protect public health. In 2001, to address the immediate problems posed by the site, EPA secured the property, removed numerous sources of contamination inside the main building, including contaminated sludge and debris, 5,000 gallons of waste oil and asbestos – containing material, and demolished an unstable portion of the main building and a large smoke stack. The site was placed on the federal Superfund list in 2002.
In 2012, EPA finalized a plan for the next phase of cleanup at this site. In the spring of 2015, the major clean-up activities began, including demolition of the main building, digging up the contaminated soil and sediment and treating the ground water. Because volatile organic compounds have the ability to move through the soil and contaminate ground water, all of the excavated soil that is contaminated with volatile organic compounds will be sent to a licensed off-site disposal facility. Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons in the soil will be properly managed on-site by covering them up with clean soil. EPA will treat the contaminated ground water in the source area using chemicals called oxidants. The agency developed a Health and Safety (H&S) plan for the scheduled activities at the site to protect the public and on-site workers. In addition, an air monitoring program will be instituted to ensure that no contaminants leave the site. Any wetlands disturbed will be restored. The plan requires restrictions that will prevent activities that could disturb the cleaned up areas and will prohibit any future residential construction on the property.