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Dewey Loeffel Landfill
Rensselaer County, NY

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Larisa Romanowski
(518) 747-4389
romanowski.larisa@epa.gov

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The Dewey Loeffel Landfill Site (Site) is located in southern Rensselaer County, New York, approximately four miles northeast of the village of Nassau. From 1952 until 1968, the Site was used for the disposal of an estimated 46,000 tons of waste materials generated by several Capital District companies including General Electric (GE), Bendix Corporation (now Honeywell International, Inc. [Honeywell]) and Schenectady Chemicals (now SI Group, Inc. [SI]). The waste included industrial solvents, waste oils, polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), scrap materials, sludge and solids. Volatile organic compounds and other hazardous substances have seeped out of the landfill and contaminated the ground water. PCBs have also moved downstream, causing contamination of sediment and several species of fish in and near Nassau Lake.

In 1968, after years of citizen complaints, documented downstream fish and cattle kills, and uncontrolled fires at the site, the State of New York ordered the operator to stop discharges from the disposal facility and perform cleanup work. From 1980 until the site was added to the federal Superfund list in March 2011, numerous investigations and cleanup actions were performed at the Site under the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation’s (NYSDEC’s) Superfund program. These activities included, but were not limited to, the installation of a clay cap and soil/bentonite clay slurry wall at the landfill, the removal of drums and storage tanks, the installation and operation of a bedrock ground water recovery well system, monitoring and maintenance of residential well treatment systems, disposal off-Site of extracted contaminated ground water and leachate and removal of contaminated sediments.

In June and August 2009, the EPA collected sediment samples from downstream water bodies. The analytical results indicated the continuing presence of PCBs. The State of New York referred the site to EPA and issued a letter of support for placing this site on the federal Superfund National Priorities List (NPL). In March 2011, the Dewey Loeffel Landfill was added to the NPL. Shortly thereafter, the EPA began gathering landfill and ground water data as part of an Initial Supplemental Site Investigation (ISSI).

In October 2011, the EPA’s Removal Program took over the operation (pumping) and maintenance of the ground water extraction and the leachate collection system which included winterization of the extraction well system to allow for year-round operation of the wells and off-site disposal of the collected leachate and ground water.

In April 2012 the EPA reached an agreement to perform a removal action at the Site with two of the parties responsible for the contamination, GE and SI. This agreement required that the companies take over the collection and the removal of contaminated ground water and leachate. As part of the agreement, the companies would also construct a treatment plant adjacent to the landfill to treat the contaminated ground water and leachate. GE and SI took over “pump and truck operations” and the operation and maintenance of the ground water extraction and leachate collection system in August 2012. The construction of the treatment plant was completed in November 2013 and the EPA is presently overseeing the startup of the plant. The treatment plant may be modified in the future based on the final cleanup plan chosen.

While a removal action is sometimes conducted to address immediate threats to the environment or to the people that live or work around a hazardous waste site, the Remedial Investigation/Feasibility Study (RI/FS) is the first step in the long-term cleanup of a site. The primary objective of a RI/FS is to determine the nature and extent of contamination, identify potential threats, and evaluate options for cleaning up a site. On September 30, 2013, EPA, GE and SI finalized an agreement which requires GE and SI to perform the RI/FS for the landfill and ground water components of the Site. On October 30, 2013, the EPA and GE finalized an agreement which requires GE to perform the RI/FS for the drainageways (surface waters and sediments) component of the Site. Together the two agreements will result in a comprehensive RI/FS for the Site.

All work being performed by the responsible parties under the removal action agreement and the RI/FS agreements is being done under EPA oversight.


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