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News Releases from Region 02

EPA Finalizes $1.9 Million Cleanup Plan for Koppers Pond in Chemung County, N.Y.

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

(New York, N.Y. – Oct. 4, 2016) The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency finalized its plan to address contaminated soil and sediment at Koppers Pond, a part of the Kentucky Avenue Wellfield Superfund site in Horseheads, N.Y. Koppers Pond is contaminated with polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) and heavy metals. The EPA is requiring capping of an approximately nine-acre area of the pond’s historic footprint to prevent exposure to the pollutants and restricting activities that could damage the cap. PCBs can damage the immune, reproductive, nervous and endocrine systems and are potentially cancer-causing. Exposure to heavy metals can damage human health.

Koppers Pond is part of the Kentucky Avenue Wellfield Superfund site located in the Village of Horseheads in Chemung County, N.Y. The Kentucky Avenue Wellfield site was added to the federal Superfund list in 1983 following detection of trichloroethylene (TCE) in the Kentucky Avenue Wellfield, a public water supply operated by the Elmira Water Board.  Since the 1980’s, several cleanup work has been done at the site. The wellfield was closed, and residents that had used private wells were connected to the public water supply.  The nearby former Westinghouse facility was determined to be a source of contamination at the site. As part of earlier cleanup work at the former Westinghouse facility, soil that was contaminated with TCE was removed, and a system to treat contaminated groundwater was installed.  Sediment that was contaminated with PCBs in the ditch that connects to Koppers Pond to the former Westinghouse facility was removed.

EPA’s latest decision will require a six inch cap for the exposed soils and sediments on the pond’s historic footprint and continued restrictions on how the capped area can be used in the future to ensure that activities at the site do not damage the cap. Long-term monitoring of the sediment and fish will be conducted, if necessary based on pond conditions in the future. Fish advisories that have been in place since the late 1980’s may have to be revised. The EPA will conduct a review of the completed action within five years to ensure the effectiveness of the cleanup.

The Superfund program operates on the principle that polluters pay for the cleanups rather than passing the costs to taxpayers. This phase of the cleanup will cost approximately $1.9 million.  The EPA will negotiate with a group of potentially responsible parties for payment and performance of the work at the site.

The EPA held a public meeting in Elmira on August 4, 2016 to explain its proposed plan. The EPA accepted public comments for 30 days and considered public input before finalizing the plan.

To view the final cleanup plan, visit: www.epa.gov/superfund/kentucky-avenue

For a direct link to the final cleanup plan, please visit: https://semspub.epa.gov/src/document/02/393189

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