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News Releases from Region 02

EPA Finalizes $4 Million Cleanup Plan for Fulton Avenue Superfund Site in Hempstead and North Hempstead, N.Y.

Contact Information: 
Elias Rodriguez (rodriguez.elias@epa.gov)

(New York, N.Y.) The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has finalized its decision to modify an interim cleanup plan originally issued in 2007 to address a portion of the contaminated groundwater at the Fulton Avenue Superfund site in the Towns of North Hempstead and Hempstead, N.Y.

The groundwater is contaminated with volatile organic compounds, including perchloroethylene, that resulted in part from previous dry cleaning operations conducted by a fabric-cutting mill at 150 Fulton Avenue in Garden City Park, N.Y. The modified plan requires continuing to operate existing treatment systems for Village of Garden City drinking water supply wells 13 and 14, but eliminates plans for a separate groundwater treatment system for the groundwater. This separate system is not needed, at this time, in part because contamination levels in area groundwater have been declining since EPA issued its 2007 cleanup decision.

The EPA held a public meeting on May 12, 2015, took public comment for 30 days, and considered public input before finalizing the plan.

"The EPA will keep working to protect residents of Long Island from the threats of polluted groundwater," said EPA Regional Administrator Judith A. Enck. "Long Island relies on groundwater as its source of drinking water, so it is essential that groundwater resources be protected from toxic contamination."

Volatile organic compounds can cause cancer and other health damage. The extent and nature of potential health effects depend on many factors, including the contaminant levels and the length of exposure to the pollution.

Public water supply wells impacted by the contamination have treatment systems and are monitored regularly to ensure that the water quality meets federal and state drinking water standards.

The Fulton Avenue site also includes trichloroethylene contamination in groundwater that is being addressed as part of a second phase of work. The EPA is performing an investigation to evaluate the problem and to develop a proposed plan for the second phase.

From approximately 1965 to 1974, the fabric-cutting mill at 150 Fulton Avenue was operated by several businesses, including a division of Genesco Inc. Volatile organic compounds from dry cleaning operations at the mill, primarily perchloroethylene, were disposed of in a well and seeped into the groundwater beneath the 150 Fulton Avenue property, which has been owned by Gordon Atlantic Corporation since 1963. With the support of New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, the site was added to the Superfund list in 1998, with New York State taking the lead until 2007, when EPA became the lead agency for the site.

Currently, the groundwater entering two wells is treated using an air stripper, which forces air through groundwater to remove harmful chemicals. This system will continue to operate until a final remedial approach for the site is implemented. The proposed modification of the cleanup plan includes other elements, such as an evaluation of chemical vapors that may enter buildings near 150 Fulton Avenue, and also relies upon Nassau County law that restricts the installation of private drinking water wells.

The modified cleanup plan will also include sampling and analysis of a monitoring well network and of two wells to ensure protection of public health until a final cleanup for the entire site is implemented.

The Superfund program operates on the principle that polluters should pay for the cleanups, rather than passing the costs to taxpayers. The EPA searches for parties legally responsible for the contamination at sites that are placed on the Superfund list and it seeks to hold those parties accountable for the costs of investigations and cleanups. The EPA expects to modify an existing settlement with Genesco, Inc. to undertake the cleanup with EPA oversight. The estimated cost of the cleanup is approximately $4 million.

To view the Fulton Avenue Superfund web site: http://www.epa.gov/region02/superfund/npl/fulton/

The record of decision will be available at: http://semspub.epa.gov/src/document/02/372864

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