EPA Proposes Cleanup Plan for Properties near the Facet Enterprises, Inc. Superfund Site in Elmira Heights, New York
NEW YORK – Today, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) proposed a plan to address vapor intrusion at certain residential and commercial properties in the vicinity of the Facet Enterprises, Inc. Superfund site in Elmira Heights, New York. Vapors from the chemical contamination, primarily trichloroethylene (TCE), have seeped into more than 65 properties in the vicinity. TCE can produce emissions that rise through the soil and potentially affect indoor air quality, a condition known as vapor intrusion. The proposed plan calls for the installation of mitigation systems that vents the gases to reduce potential exposure from soil vapors.
“Vapors from groundwater and soil can move through the soil and seep through cracks in basements, foundations, sewer lines and other openings. EPA’s plan will result in the reduction of indoor air contamination to protect people’s health,” said acting Regional Administrator Walter Mugdan. “Working in consultation with the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, our plan is to offer the installation of these mitigation systems free of charge and at no cost to the residential or commercial property owners.”
To date, 264 residential and commercial properties have been sampled for vapor intrusion of volatile organic compounds, primarily trichloroethylene. EPA has installed 60 systems and recommends the installation of an additional seven properties based on recent sampling, as well as the installation of additional systems should future sampling indicate they are necessary.
The Facet Enterprises, Inc. facility, a 31-acre parcel of land, is in the Village of Elmira Heights. The facility was previously used to make products such as bicycle parts, automobile engine components and small arms for the military.
Because of the nature and complexity of the contamination at the site, the investigations and cleanup of the site has been conducted in stages. EPA selected a remedy in September 1992 to address the groundwater contamination at the site. Purolator Products Inc., a potentially responsible party, entered into an agreement with EPA to perform the cleanup activities set forth in the 1992 remedy. These activities included excavating contaminated soil and sediments from the site, installing wells to extract contaminated groundwater from the aquifer, and installing a treatment system for the extracted groundwater using the air stripping method. The groundwater pump and treat system located at the site has been operational since 1997.
Because contamination remains on-site, EPA conducts reviews every five years to ensure the effectiveness of the cleanup. The agency continues to conduct five-year reviews of the site and has concluded that the pump and treat system is functioning according to the 1992 remedy. The fourth five-year review was completed in 2017 and recommended further evaluation of the potential for vapor intrusion at residential properties.
A 30-day public comment period for the proposed plan will occur from July 22, 2021 to August 23. EPA will hold an in-person and virtual public meeting on July 28, 2021 at 6:30 p.m. to explain the proposed plan and take public comments. The in-person meeting will be held at the Thomas A. Edison High School Auditorium, 2083 College Avenue, Elmira Heights, New York. To participate virtually, interested parties should register at: https://facet.eventbrite.com.
Written comments on the proposed plan should be postmarked no later than August 19, 2021 to Aidan Conway, Remedial Project Manager, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, 290 Broadway, 19th Floor, New York, New York 10007-1866 or via email to email@example.com.
The proposed plan and information about the site are available at the Horseheads Town Hall, Town Clerks Office at 150 Wygant Road, Horseheads, N.Y., or at www.epa.gov/superfund/facet-enterprises