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EPA Invites Public Comment on Proposed Cleanup for Gowanda Site (Peter Cooper Landfill)

Release Date: 8/9/2005
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For Release: Tuesday, August 9, 2005

(#05091) NEW YORK -- The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is seeking community input on its plan to clean up the Peter Cooper Landfill Superfund site in Gowanda, Cattaraugus County, New York. Under the proposed plan, EPA would place a cap on the elevated area of the inactive landfill, install a subsurface barrier to limit ground water movement through the waste material, collect leachate, contaminated liquid flowing from the site, and control landfill gas.

"The isolation and control of contamination in the landfill are critical steps in stemming the on-going source of ground water contamination," said Acting Regional Administrator Kathleen C. Callahan. "These controls will allow the quality of the ground water to improve over time, and will protect local residents from exposure."

The proposed cleanup plan calls for excavation of hot-spot areas and consolidation within the five acre area to be capped. It will then be seeded to foster natural habitat. Leachate will be treated, if necessary, before it is discharged to the local wastewater treatment facility. The cost of this remedy is expected to range between $2.68 million and $4.08 million. Controls will also be established to prevent site ground water from being used as potable drinking water.

The 26-acre Peter Cooper Landfill Superfund site in Gowanda consists of the inactive landfill area and land associated with the former Peter Cooper Corporation glue- manufacturing plant. A portion of the property is owned by New York State Electric and Gas (NYSEG) Corporation. The site was used from 1904 to 1985 to produce animal glue and industrial adhesives. Process waste sludge was disposed of in the northwest portion of the property between 1925 and 1970. The waste was found to contain chromium, arsenic and zinc. In 1972, under a New York State Supreme Court order, the Peter Cooper Corporation removed approximately 38,600 tons of waste material and transferred it to a site in Markhams, New York. In 1996, under an Administrative Order on Consent, NYSEG stabilized the south bank of the Cattaraugus Creek to prevent further erosion of material from the landfill into the Creek. The site was added to the National Priorities List in April 1998. A group of 14 potentially responsible parties conducted the investigation of the site, with EPA oversight, under the terms of a Unilateral Administrative Order.

EPA will explain the proposed remedy and all of the alternatives considered to address contamination at this site at a public meeting on August 10 at 7:00 p.m. at Gowanda Central High School, 24 Prospect Street. Written and oral comments will be taken at the meeting and throughout the public comment period of July 30 to August 28, 2005. Copies of site-related documents and the proposed cleanup plan are available for public review at both the Gowanda Free Library, 56 W. Main Street, phone: 716-532- 3451, at the Seneca Nation of Indians Library, 3 Thomas Indian School Drive in Irving, phone: 716-532-9449 and at EPA's New York City office. Written comments can be submitted to Sherrel Henry, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, 290 Broadway, 20th Floor, New York, NY 10007-1866 or via email at