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Reynolds Metals Company
Massena, NY

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Larisa W. Romanowski (518) 407-0400
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The 1,600-acre Reynolds Metals Facility is located on the St. Lawrence River, approximately eight miles east of the Village of Massena, New York. The facility was constructed in 1958 for the production of aluminum and is now owned and operated by Alcoa. In November 1989, EPA issued a Unilateral Administrative Order to Reynolds requiring them to undertake an investigation of the river system surrounding its Massena facility. The Order also included design and implementation of EPA’s final cleanup remedy to address contamination in river sediments.

Through its operation, various types of industrial waste were disposed of throughout the Reynolds facility. Reynolds also discharged contaminants to the St. Lawrence River through four permitted outfalls. Polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) are the primary contaminant found in the St. Lawrence sediment adjacent to the Reynolds facility. PCBs are considered probable human carcinogens and are linked to other adverse health effects such as low birth weight, thyroid disease, and learning, memory and immune system disorders. Contamination in river sediments may affect sediment-dwelling organisms and can pose a threat to the health of other wildlife through the bioaccumulation of PCBs.  The consumption of fish or wildlife from contaminated areas is of special concern because of the proximity of the Mohawk Tribal lands. There are approximately 4,000 Saint Regis Mohawks living in the nearby territory referred to as Akwesasne. Other contaminants found in the St. Lawrence River sediment include aluminum, furans, and polyaromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs).

In 2001, EPA began an excavation program to remove contaminated sediment from the bottom of the River. The contaminants were contained by a steel wall, and highly contaminated materials were separated in order to prevent transport to areas with low levels of contamination. Areas with high levels of contamination were dredged. A total mass of approximately 20,200 pounds of PCBs were removed from the St. Lawrence River adjacent to the Alcoa East facility. In areas where post-dredging sampling determined that the cleanup goal had not been met despite multiple dredging attempts, a cap was placed to isolate any remaining contamination. Dredging and capping of the contaminated sediments was completed in 2009. Monitoring the caps for erosion and making repairs as necessary are required annually.

Under Superfund, EPA conducts reviews every five years at cleanup sites to evaluate if they continue to protect human health and the environment. The last five year review of the Reynolds Metals Company Site occurred in February 2011 and determined that the actions taken at the site continue to be protective.


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