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News Releases from Region 02

EPA Proposes to Add Former Metals Plant in Cortlandt, N.Y. to the National Priorities List

09/11/2018
Contact Information: 
Elias Rodriguez (rodriguez.elias@epa.gov)
212-637-3664

(New York, N.Y.) Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced the addition of five hazardous waste sites to the Superfund Program’s National Priorities List (NPL) and proposed to add another six sites to the NPL. These additions represent commitments from the Agency to advance Superfund cleanups to protect communities across the country. The Magna Metals site in Cortlandt, N.Y. is one of the sites being proposed for addition to the NPL.

“In adding these sites to the NPL, EPA is carrying out one of our core responsibilities to the American people,” said EPA Acting Administrator Andrew Wheeler. “Cleaning up sites that pose risks to public health and the environment is a critical part of our mission and it provides significant health and economic benefits to communities across the country.”

“Adding Magna Metals to the Superfund list is an important action to protect Cortlandt’s children and families from potential exposure to harmful site contaminants,” said EPA Regional Administrator Pete Lopez. “The legal and technical resources of the federal Superfund program will allow EPA to build on the previous actions by the state of New York and Westchester County to resolve decades-old problems associated with this site.”

Magna Metals conducted metal plating, polishing, and lacquering operations at the site from 1955 to 1979. During operations, iron, lead, copper, nickel, zinc chlorides, cyanides, and sulfates were discharged to a series of leaching pits. As a result, the soil, groundwater, a nearby stream and sediment are contaminated with metals and volatile organic compounds.

The former Magna Metals plant was demolished in 2013. Buildings on the property are currently being used for offices, a laboratory, and warehousing. Some of the homes in the surrounding area, which is primarily residential, have contaminated soil on their property immediately adjacent to the brook, and are located near contaminated sediment. Affected residents have been provided with soil sample results and advised on how to reduce potential exposures in the short-term. Furnace Brook is the main surface water body that contains contaminated sediment, including approximately 1.5 miles of freshwater wetland.

The state of New York investigated the contamination, collected samples and conducted studies, which resulted in immediate steps to mitigate risks from potential exposure. Those steps included demolishing the former plant and installing a system to vent gas away from the occupied office and warehouse building at the facility. The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation supports inclusion of the site to the Superfund list.

Background

Under the Trump Administration, the Superfund program has reemerged as a priority to fulfill and strengthen EPA’s core mission of protecting human health and the environment. Since October 2017, EPA has deleted 10 full sites, and 2 partial sites from the NPL.

The NPL includes the nation’s most serious uncontrolled or abandoned hazardous waste sites. The list serves as the basis for prioritizing EPA Superfund cleanup funding and enforcement actions. Only sites on the NPL are eligible to receive federal funding for long-term, permanent cleanup.

EPA initiates Superfund involvement at sites when states, tribes, or communities ask for the agency’s help, or when the agency finds contamination during its own investigations. Sites are deleted from the NPL once the agency completes all response actions and achieves all cleanup objectives. The Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA), which established the Superfund program, requires EPA to update the NPL annually.

The Superfund program has been providing important health benefits to communities across the country for more than 35 years.

Superfund cleanups also strengthen local economies. Data collected through 2017 shows that at 487 Superfund sites in reuse, approximately 6,600 businesses are generating $43.6 billion in sales and employ 156,000 people who earned a combined income of $11.2 billion.

The NPL is one focus area of the 2017 Superfund Task Force Recommendations to improve and revitalize the Superfund program. On July 23, 2018, EPA released the Superfund Task Force 2018 Recommendations Update. 

For Federal Register notices and supporting documents for the final and proposed sites: http://www.epa.gov/superfund/current-npl-updates-new-proposed-npl-sites-and-new-npl-sites

The 2018 Recommendation Update can be found here:

https://www.epa.gov/superfund/superfund-task-force-recommendations-2018-update    

The Superfund Task Force Recommendations can be viewed at: https://www.epa.gov/superfund/superfund-task-force-recommendations

For information about Superfund and the NPL: http://www.epa.gov/superfund

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

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