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EPA Selects $28 Million Cleanup Plan For Federal Superfund Site in Glen Cove on North Shore Waterfront

Release Date: 10/04/1999
Contact Information: Richard Cahill (212) 637-3666 /

(#99156) NEW YORK, N.Y. -- The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) today announced a final cleanup plan for two properties that make up the Li Tungsten federal Superfund site on the North Shore waterfront of Long Island. The site is an old industrial section of the city overlooking Glen Cove Creek and is the centerpiece of the City's waterfront redevelopment strategy. Under the $28 million plan, approximately 47,000 tons of radioactive materials, as well as nearly 57,000 tons of chemically-contaminated soil, sediments and debris from the former tungsten processing facility will be removed and transported to appropriate off-site disposal facilities. In order to reduce the volume of material that will be disposed of as radioactive waste, special technologies will be used to separate radioactive materials from non-radioactive materials. In the event that use of these technologies proves to be not practical, all material will be disposed of off-site in an appropriate manner. EPA has established cleanup goals that conform with the City's plan for the commercial redevelopment of the site.

"The cleanup plan for the Li Tungsten site takes the Glen Cove community one step closer to making the vision of a flourishing waterfront property on this site a reality," said EPA Regional Administrator Jeanne M. Fox. "The Superfund program not only gives us the resources we need to safeguard public health, it offers the hope of future redevelopment, so vital to the economic health of our communities."

EPA, which has begun informal negotiations with potentially responsible parties to carry out the work, expects that when the excavation of the contaminated materials begins it should take about two years to complete. Long-term monitoring of the local groundwater to evaluate its quality after the sources of contamination are removed is also part of the plan. The groundwater underlying the site is not used for drinking water.

The Li Tungsten Task Force, comprising city and state officials, businesses, residents and parties potentially responsible for the contamination, has been meeting with EPA on a monthly basis since 1993 in a partnership designed to increase community involvement in the Superfund process. The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (NYSDEC) has reviewed the plan and supports it.

Site Background

The Li Tungsten site includes an inactive tungsten processing facility on 26 acres of land, as well as portions of a nearby area known as the Captain's Cove property where the tungsten facility operators disposed of waste tungsten material. The processing facility was owned and/or operated first by the federal government as a defense plant from 1942 to 1985, and then by a succession of corporate entities, including the National Reconditioning Company, Wah Chang Smelting and Refining Company of America, Inc., Wah Chang Corporation, Teledyne, Inc. and Li Tungsten Corporation. The Li Tungsten Corporation declared bankruptcy in 1985.

From approximately 1958 to 1970, the Captain's Cove property was used as a dump site for incinerator ash, sewage sludge, rubbish, household debris, Glen Cove Creek sediments, and industrial wastes. The Captain's Cove property was purchased by Village Green Realty at Garvies Point, Inc. in 1983 for the purpose of developing condominiums. Redevelopment efforts were abandoned in the mid-1980's when the NYSDEC designated the property as a state Superfund site. However, since NYSDEC has no jurisdiction over the cleanup or handling of radioactive materials, the state requested that EPA address the radioactive contamination on the Captain's Cove property, while the NYSDEC addressed the non-radioactive contamination. Later, EPA made a determination to include those portions of the Captain's Cove property that contain radioactive wastes as part of the Li Tungsten site, after sampling showed that the wastes were virtually identical to those at the former processing facility.

Federal Actions

In July 1989, EPA ordered the removal of drums and vats containing hazardous materials from the Li Tungsten facility by a contractor for the Glen Cove Development Company (GCDC), a private party that currently owns the former Li Tungsten facility property under Agency supervision. The most serious chemical/radiological hazards at the facility were identified and removed to an off-site location for treatment and/or disposal. These materials included various radioactive substances, laboratory chemicals, chemically-contaminated waste, and mercury. An inventory of remaining materials, including the contents of the approximately 270 tanks at the facility, also was conducted. From 1996 to1998, as a result of the deteriorating condition of the tanks, EPA addressed the hazards associated with their contents. This action involved the disposal of large volumes of waste liquid and sludge, as well as the removal and disposal of asbestos and other hazardous chemicals found in some of the buildings, and the demolition of the Dice Complex and the East Building. EPA has spent over $13 million dollars to date in ensuring that the dangers associated with this site are properly addressed.

EPA designated Glen Cove as a National Brownfields Showcase community in 1997 to serve as a model for other communities across the country where hazardous wastes sites are being cleaned up with an eye toward future redevelopment.

On April 22, 1999, the federal government signed an agreement that provides the Glen Cove Industrial Development Agency (IDA), when it becomes the new owner of the Li Tungsten Superfund site, with protections against future liability for EPA's Superfund costs for the clean up of the site. The agreement resolves a potential roadblock in the IDA's plan to purchase the Li Tungsten and Captain's Cove properties for redevelopment.

For more information contact:

Richard Cahill, Press Office
EPA Region 2
290 Broadway
NY, NY 10007-1866
Voice: 212-637-3666 FAX: 212-637-5046 E-Mail: