EPA Marks Third Year of Historically High Superfund Site Deletions with Visit to Peter Cooper Superfund Site in Gowanda, New York
Under the Trump Administration, EPA has deleted 82 sites from the NPL in four years equaling the number of deletions between 2008-2016
Gowanda, N.Y. - Today, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Regional Administrator Pete Lopez marked another successful year of Superfund site deletions at the Peter Cooper Superfund site with the support of Congressman Tom Reed, State Senator Patrick Gallivan, State Senator George Borrello and State Assemblyman Joseph Giglio. Mr. Lopez was joined at the site by Assemblyman Giglio, Village of Gowanda Mayor David Smith, Gowanda Area Redevelopment Corporation Vice President Mike Hutchinson, Lee James from the office of Congressman Reed and Karen Howard from the office of State Senator Gallivan. The group toured the former Peter Cooper Superfund site, which was deleted from the EPA’s Superfund list last fall. The site, once home to one of the country’s largest glue factories, was cleaned up under EPA oversight and turned into a 26-acre park. Park development continues, with construction underway on a creek side amphitheater.
On Monday, October 5, EPA announced that in Fiscal Year (FY) 2020 the agency deleted all or part of 27 sites from the Superfund National Priorities List (NPL). This marks the third year in a row that EPA has deleted a historically high number of Superfund sites, sending a clear message that human health and the environment are protected and paving the way for redeveloping these properties into community assets. This year, the FMC Corp. Dublin Road Landfill site in the Town of Shelby, New York was among the sites deleted. Since FY2017, five sites have been fully or partially deleted from the National Priorities List in New York, making our land cleaner for residents.
“The transformation of this site in recent years is impressive and really shows how the Superfund program can not only mitigate risks to people’s health from contaminated sites, but also provide remarkable opportunities for community revitalization,” said EPA Regional Administrator Pete Lopez. “What Gowanda has achieved, with help from EPA’s Superfund and Brownfields programs and state and county programs is truly inspiring.”
“The attention and focus the Trump Administration has put on the Superfund program is making a real difference in the lives of people living in communities near Superfund sites across the country,” said EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler. “Cleanup and deletion from the NPL help communities move forward, allowing land to be repurposed and reused in more productive ways. We’re proud of the progress we’ve made.”
“We are so proud to see the Peter Cooper Superfund site in Gowanda removed from the National Priorities List and the progress made on the site as we redevelop, reimagine, and revitalize previously toxic areas for the community,” said Congressman Tom Reed (NY-23). “Working with the EPA, local officials, and community members, we can continue to implement effective strategies that reduce historical pollution, generate new economic opportunities, and open up previously unusable land for environmentally responsible development and enjoyment.”
"The cleanup and redevelopment of the former Peter Cooper Superfund site is great news for Gowanda and the entire region. I thank the EPA and community leaders who have worked so hard to make this day possible and we look forward to the subsequent redevelopment of the site," said State Senator Patrick M. Gallivan
"It is a great day for our community to see what can be accomplished when we all work together toward a common goal,” said Assemblyman Joseph Giglio.
EPA deletes sites or parts of sites from the NPL when no further cleanup is required to protect human health or the environment. Years, and sometimes decades, of complex investigation and cleanup work have gone into getting these sites to where they are today.
While EPA encourages site reuse throughout the cleanup process, deletions from the NPL can help revitalize communities and promote economic growth by signaling to potential developers and financial institutions that cleanup is complete. Over the past several years, the EPA has placed special emphasis on deleting sites and portions of sites to demonstrate to communities that cleanup is complete.
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 northwestern portion of the property in the elevated subarea. The site of the former Peter Cooper Corporation factory included some areas of contaminated soil. The site was placed on the Superfund list in March 1998.
The $2.5 million Superfund cleanup of the Peter Cooper site conducted by the responsible parties with EPA oversight 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 supported the initial efforts to transform Peter Cooper by issuing a $100,000 Superfund Redevelopment Initiative grant to fund the initial assessment of the feasibility of redeveloping the site into a community recreation area. Site deletion has also allowed 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. EPA conducts a review of the protectiveness of the Peter Cooper cleanup every 5 years to ensure the effectiveness of the cleanup.
During the first term of the Trump Administration, EPA has deleted all or part of 82 sites from the NPL matching the site year total over two terms of the previous administration. In FY 2017, EPA doubled the number of full and partial sites deleted over the previous fiscal year with a total of six sites. In FY 2018, the Agency increased the total number of deletions to 22 and increased it to 27 in FY 2019. This past year, in FY 2020, EPA continued to achieve a historically high rate of deletions with 14 full sites and parts of 13 additional sites, for a total of 27 deletion activities.
In FY 2020, EPA employees initiated a project to evaluate and improve the deletion process and as a result consolidated the rulemaking process to streamline the administrative steps involved in deleting sites from the NPL. Going forward, this improvement is expected to reduce workloads, shorten process lead-times, and lower program costs.
In 2020, to also benefit New York, EPA selected the Village of Gowanda for a $300,000 Brownfields Assessment Grant targeting 20 sites within the Central Business District, the Eco/Recreational Tourism Corridor, and the Agri-hub Agritourism District.
To learn more about the Peter Cooper Superfund Site, visit www.epa.gov/superfund/peter-cooper
Additional information about EPA’s NPL deletions can be viewed at https://www.epa.gov/superfund/deleted-national-priorities-list-npl-sites-state
The Superfund Task Force Accomplishments can be viewed at https://www.epa.gov/superfund/superfund-task-force-recommendations-and-accomplishments
To search for information about these and other NPL sites, please visit https://www.epa.gov/superfund/search-superfund-sites-where-you-live