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Hiteman Leather Co.
Village of West Winfield, New York

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Site Description

The Hiteman Leather Company site is a former 12-acre tannery located in the Village of West Winfield. Bordered by residential and commercial properties, as well as the Unadilla River, the tannery operated from 1820 until 1968 when it was closed. Over the years, the tanning industry evolved from a tree bark-based process to a chromium-based one, which the Hiteman operation adopted in 1916. By 1964, approximately 180,000 gallons of chromium-containing wastewater was discharged daily from the tannery into three unlined settling lagoons. These lagoons drained into the Unadilla River directly, and, at various times, the effluent also drained into the Unadilla indirectly through nearby wetlands. Settled solids in the lagoons were periodically excavated and deposited as bank material around the lagoons. The lagoons were backfilled in 1968 (using the bank material), and the site has been inactive ever since, with the exception of the use of the buildings mainly for storage during 1969-82. The tannery buildings were demolished in 1996 and 1998.

Current Site Status and Cleanup Actions to Date

  • The northern 10 acres of the site were fenced in during 1994 to limit access by the public. A structural evaluation in 1996 determined that the wood-frame sections of the main tannery building and the smokestack were structurally unsound.
  • Demolition of the wood-frame sections was performed by EPA in1996. Asbestos was removed from the buildings prior to demolition and disposed of at an approved off-site facility. In addition, approximately 600 linear feet of riprap was installed along the northern bank of the Unadilla River in1996 to ensure the river bank's stability. The remaining concrete and steel part of the tannery buildings was demolished by the estate of the former owner in 1998.
  • In 2006, EPA signed a Record of Decision (ROD) that called for a remedy that included excavation of contaminated soil hot spots, excavation/dredging of contaminated wetland and river sediments, solidification and consolidation of the excavated/dredged soils and sediments, placement of a soil cover, and intermittent groundwater extraction and treatment.

Current Funding Status

  • In Fiscal Year 2007, EPA allocated $7.1 million to the site to implement the remedial action on the former tannery and the adjacent river.

For more information on this site, please read the Hiteman Leather Co.  Fact Sheet on the Region 2 web site.

Key Accomplishments

  • Fencing, demolition of deteriorated buildings, removal of asbestos and stabilization of the river bank has mitigated the immediate threat posed by the site.

  • In 2006, a ROD was signed, selecting a remedy for the site.

 

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