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Lehigh Valley
LeRoy, NY

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Michael Basile (716) 551-4410
basile.michael@epa.gov

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The Lehigh Valley Railroad Derailment Site (LVRR) in the Town of LeRoy, New York is the location of a chemical spill that resulted from a train derailment in 1970. Approximately one ton of cyanide crystals and around 30,000 to 35,000 gallons of Trichloroethene (TCE), which is a volatile organic compound that is a potentially harmful contaminant that can easily evaporate into the air, spilled onto the ground. The site consists of portions of Gulf Road, the former railroad bed, and the properties next to the railroad crossing. The site is surrounded by residential, recreational and commercial areas.

As an immediate action, a cleanup including the removal of the cyanide crystals and the overturned car took place. Shortly after the spill, drinking wells in the area were found to have TCE contamination. The Lehigh Valley Railroad, working with County and State health officials, provided drinking water to residents with contaminated wells and later installed filtration systems on the affected wells. Between April 1991 and May 1993, at the request of the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (NYSDEC), EPA used its short term cleanup authorities under the Superfund program to install granulated activated carbon treatment systems on 35 private wells affected by the
contamination.

In 1997 , the NYSDEC selected a cleanup plan for the site consisting of soil and bedrock vapor extraction, vapor extraction of the bedrock, construction of water lines connecting all homes with impacted wells to a public water supply and monitoring of ground water. In 1999, at NYSDEC's request, EPA added LVRR to the Superfund National Priorities List on January 19, 1999 because hazardous chemicals were found in the soil and groundwater. EPA placed the Site on its National Priorities List of Federal Superfund sites.

In 2003, an EPA/NYSDEC funded waterline extension was completed with 100% connection of affected residents. In September 2006, EPA signed an Administrative Settlement Agreement and Order on Consent with LVRR requiring them LVRR agreed to undertake the investigation and engineering work needed to treat soil, determine the extent of the ground water contamination and investigate whether vapors from the ground water were impacting homes and to install systems to vent the vapors at homes
impacted by vapor intrusion.

LVRR has performed extensive groundwater sampling since 2008. Based upon this and subsequent
sampling, LVRR installed additional monitoring wells to supplement monitoring wells that had been
installed by the State. Since 2008, 32 properties have been sampled for vapor intrusion. Eleven of those
properties needed vapor intrusion mitigation systems. The mitigation systems have been installed and
have been effective in controlling the vapors. Homes over the ground water plume area will continue to
be monitored for potential vapor intrusion impacts. In 2012, LVRR installed additional monitoring wells
east of Spring Creek. Results of groundwater sampling conducted to date have not revealed
contamination migration past Spring Creek. Next, the Remedial Investigation Report will be completed.
It defines the nature and extent of groundwater contamination. LVRR will also be asked to submit the
Feasibility Study report, which evaluates options for cleaning up the groundwater contamination.

In 2013 LVRR submitted a soil vapor extraction design plan for the cleanup of soils. EPA approved the
design in September 2013. The design consists of the construction and operation of a system that will
treat volatile organic contaminants in the soils to cleanup levels specified in the Record of Decision,
which identifies the selected cleanup plan. A portion of this SVE system will be constructed
this summer (2014) and a Pilot Study conducted to evaluate the effectiveness of the system.


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