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EPA Deletes Peter Cooper Superfund Site, Gowanda, New York from federal Superfund list

10/16/2019
Contact Information: 
Michael Basile (basile.michael@epa.gov)
(716) 551-4410, (646) 369-0055,

GOWANDA, N.Y. - After completing all work to address contamination at the Peter Cooper Superfund Site in Gowanda, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has deleted the site from the National Priorities List, which is the federal Superfund list of the most contaminated hazardous waste sites.

“Deleting this site is the final step in the Superfund cleanup process, and we are pleased that we were able address the contamination and work with the local authorities as they turned this site into a recreational area,” said EPA Regional Administrator Pete Lopez.

“The deleting of the site is the culmination of decades of work by Mr. Mike Hutchinson and his team from Gowanda Area Redevelopment Corporation and the Village of Gowanda. These groups worked so hard to turn what was once a staple of toxicity and danger into a multimillion dollar multi-use recreational site. The deletion is the ultimate statement to magnify this work,” said Village of Gowanda Mayor, David Smith.

In this case, the EPA not only selected the remedy and oversaw the responsible parties’ implementation of the cleanup work, but also helped in the site redevelopment through several enforcement agreements and a grant to study the feasibility of the recreation area redevelopment.

Deletion of a site from the “National Priorities List” occurs when site cleanups are successfully implemented, and no further cleanup is required to protect human health or the environment.

EPA has confirmed that restrictions are in place at the Peter Cooper site, such as restrictive covenants and environmental easements that limit future uses of the site and use of the groundwater for drinking water to protect the cleanup activities and human health and the environment, respectively. Long-term activities at the site will continue, including operating and maintaining the system that passively vents gas buildup from the inactive landfill and continued monitoring of the groundwater. EPA will conduct reviews of the protectiveness of the cleanup activities every 5 years to ensure the effectiveness of the cleanup. EPA accepted public comment on the proposed deletion for a 30-day period before moving ahead with deleting the site.

Background

Peter Cooper Corporation and its predecessor, Eastern Tanners Glue Company, manufactured animal glue in Gowanda from 1904 to 1972. When the animal glue product line was terminated, Peter Cooper Corporation continued to produce synthetic industrial adhesives until the plant closed in 1985. The wastes from Peter Cooper Corporation’s glue production were disposed of on the property. The site of the former Peter Cooper Corporation factory includes an inactive waste disposal area and some areas of contaminated soil. The site was placed on the Superfund list in March 1998.

The federal Superfund cleanup at the site, completed in September 2010, included:

  • Regrading and stabilizing the Cattaraugus Creek Bank to minimize the potential of erosion of the bank.
  • Excavating contaminated waste at the site and consolidating the waste in the elevated fill subarea of the inactive landfill and then covering it with a protective cap to prevent the waste from spreading further into the soil, groundwater, and surface water.
  • Collecting leachate seeps, treating and discharging the leachate to the publicly owned treatment works.
  • Installing a passive gas venting system for proper venting of the 5-acre elevated fill subarea of the inactive landfill area.

In addition, EPA was able to support local redevelopment efforts by issuing a $100,000 Superfund Redevelopment Initiative grant to perform a Reuse Assessment addressing the feasibility of redeveloping the site into a community recreation area. Site delisting will also allow the local authorities to secure funding for improvements to the recreation area since many funding sources are not able to provide funding for NPL sites.

To review the final close-out report and other site related documents for the Peter Cooper Superfund site, please visit:

https://semspub.epa.gov/src/collection/02/AR65915

Congress created the Superfund program in 1980 to protect human health and the environment by responding to releases or threatened releases of hazardous substances, pollutants and contaminants. For nearly 40 years, in communities across the country, Superfund has been one of EPA’s most visible and vital programs.

Learn more: https://www.epa.gov/superfund

The Superfund Redevelopment Initiative page: https://www.epa.gov/superfund-redevelopment-initiative

Follow EPA Region 2 on Twitter at http://twitter.com/eparegion2 and visit our Facebook page, http://facebook.com/eparegion2.

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Superfund Task Force. In May 2017 EPA established a task force to restore the Superfund program to its rightful place at the center of the Agency's core mission to protect health and the environment. epa.gov/superfund/superfund-task-force.