EPA Finalizes Cleanup Plan to Address Creosote Contamination at the GCL Tie and Treating Superfund Site in Sidney, New York
NEW YORK – The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has finalized its cleanup plan to address creosote contamination at the GCL Tie and Treating Superfund Site located in the Village of Sidney, New York, along the Susquehanna River. Creosote is an oily contaminant obtained from extracting coal tar at a high temperature and is commonly used as a wood preservative. The final cleanup plan, contained in a document called a Record of Decision, addresses the portion of the site where creosote contamination, in the form of non-aqueous phase liquid (NAPL), is impacting groundwater and includes heating the subsurface soil to reduce the thickness of the NAPL to the point that it can be better extracted through specialized extraction wells.
“EPA’s previous actions under the Superfund program, including the removal of about 20,000 gallons of readily accessible creosote and the treatment of about 80,000 cubic yards of soil, significantly reduced the extensive creosote contamination impacting the soil and groundwater at the GCL Tie and Treating site,” said EPA Regional Administrator Pete Lopez. “Through this cleanup plan, we are upholding our commitment to protect the environment for future generations by addressing the remaining creosote contamination in soil and bedrock at the site.”
The GCL Tie and Treating property comprises 26 acres of the 60-acre Superfund site in an industrial area of Sidney. The property formerly contained a sawmill, a wood-treating facility, and a light manufacturing company and is bordered by commercial and industrial properties, a railroad line, and undeveloped federal- and state-regulated wetlands. The non-GCL property is the remaining 34 acres and includes properties affected by creosote releases from the GCL Tie and Treating operations.
Under the selected cleanup plan announced today, EPA will address the remaining source area NAPL contamination at the site that is continuing to contaminate groundwater by using in-situ (in place) thermal treatment. Thermal treatment works by applying very high temperatures directly underground to the contaminated area, which makes the creosote less viscous and enables it to move more easily through soil toward extraction wells where it is collected and piped to the surface to be treated. The heat can make the contaminated area hot enough to destroy some chemicals.
The estimated cost of this remedy is $25 million. EPA expects to address an ongoing source of groundwater contamination and help the aquifer to recover with this selected plan. A final action for the groundwater will be determined after this remedy is implemented.
EPA held a virtual public meeting on September 3, 2020 to explain its cleanup plan, discuss the other cleanup options that were considered and solicit public comments.
EPA’s selected cleanup plan for the site, outlined in the Record of Decision, can be found at: www.epa.gov/superfund/gcl-tie