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Mercury Refining Company Incorporated (MERECO)

Other (Former) Names of Site: Mercury Waste Solutions, Inc. - New York (MWSNY) - (co-permitte)

EPA Identification Number: NYD048148175
Facility Location: 26 Rail Road Avenue, Colonie, New York  Site Map
Facility Contact: None
EPA Contact: Thomas Taccone (Superfund Program), (212) 637-4281, taccone.tom@epa.gov
New York State Department of Conservation (NYSDEC) Case Manager: Howard Brezner, (518) 357-2045
Last Updated: August 2007
Environmental Indicator Status: Human Exposures Under Control  [PDF 483.00 KB, 14 pp] has been verified.
Groundwater Contamination Under Control [PDF 27.87 KB, 6 pp] has been verified.

Site Description

The facility is located at 26 Railroad Avenue, north of Interstate 90 and south of Central Avenue on the border of the towns of Colonie and Guilderland in Albany County, New York. The site encompasses approximately 0.5 acres on a 2.8 acre parcel. MERECO began operations in 1955. These operations included:

The mercury was reclaimed using retort (condensation) furnaces at the facility. This facility was a commercial hazardous waste facility because hazardous waste was received from off-site for on-site storage. However, in 1998, MERECO discontinued reclaiming mercury, but continued reclaiming precious metals at the facility. The precious metal reclamation process continues at the facility, and is exempt from Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) regulation.

In 1998, MERECO's permitted hazardous waste storage building was leased to Mercury Waste Solutions - New York, Inc. (MWS), which became a co-permittee at this site. However, in the year 2003, MWS surrendered its lease of the permitted hazardous waste storage building, and ceased hazardous waste operations.

Site Responsibility and Legal Instrument

In September 1983, the Site was placed on the National Priorities List. At that time, the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (NYSDEC) was the lead Agency for overseeing actions related to investigation and remediation of the site under its hazardous waste program.

A hazardous waste permit was issued to the facility by the NYSDEC, under 6 NYCRR Part 373, on December 31, 1996. A permit also was issued by EPA in September 1997, under the Hazardous and Solid Waste Amendments of RCRA, which authorized the storage of toxicity characteristic wastes (a subset of hazardous wastes), and set out conditions for waste minimization, land disposal restrictions, organic air emissions requirements, and other RCRA requirements.

The New York State's 6 NYCRR Part 373 permit authorized the storage of hazardous wastes that are solely regulated by NYSDEC, and imposed general operating conditions upon the facility and corrective action requirements for solid waste management units (SWMUs). The corrective action module of the 6 NYCRR Part 373 permit identified 11 SWMUs and seven areas of concern that required investigation. On May 8, 1998, NYSDEC signed a consent order for corrective action with MERECO and Mercury Waste Solutions. Under the consent order, MERECO would manage the investigation and any required cleanup.

However, due to the slow pace of work under the consent order, NYSDEC later requested that the project be transferred to the EPA Superfund program via a letter dated November 17, 1999. Remedial investigation and remediation at this facility currently are under the authority of the EPA Superfund program.

Permit Status

The permit issued by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (NYSDEC) under 6 NYCRR Part 373 on December 31, 1996 was set to expire on December 31, 2001. However, this permit continued in effect until after the hazardous waste operations ceased, because the permit renewal application was submitted by the facility to NYSDEC in a timely fashion. On September 30, 2003, the permit was terminated by NYSDEC, at the permittee's request, because the facility no longer managed hazardous wastes. MERECO continues to reclaim precious metals at a portion of the facility, but these operations are not under the jurisdiction of EPA's hazardous waste permitting program.)

Potential Threats and Contaminants

Groundwater, sediments and soil are contaminated with mercury. Mercury contamination is the subject of the current Superfund response action. The soils were also contaminated with PCBs, although the PCB contaminated soil has been excavated and moved off-site. EPA's investigation of the site determined that the groundwater contamination does not move off site, so it is unlikely that people would be directly exposed to the contamination. Also, there are currently no known domestic uses of groundwater within the area.

Cleanup Approach and Progress

For further information, please refer to the fact-sheet prepared for this facility, under the Superfund National Priorities List (NPL).

Site Repository

Copies of supporting technical documents are available for public review at the following locations:

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Region 2
Superfund Records Center
290 Broadway, 18th Floor
New York, NY 10007-1866

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Region 2
RCRA Records Center
290 Broadway, 15th Floor
New York, NY 10007-1866
Phone: (212) 637-3043

The inspection of some of the documents cited in the site fact sheet may require a formal request under the United States Freedom of Information Act (FOIA).

NYSDEC Region 4
1150 North Westcott Road
Schenectady, New York 12306
Attn: Mr. Howard Brezner

The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (NYSDEC) makes its public records available for a review under the Freedom of Information Law (FOIL).

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