The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has proposed a plan to demolish a building, dig up contaminated soil and sediment, and treat the ground water at the Crown Cleaners of Watertown Inc. Superfund site in Herrings, N.Y.
The soil, sediment and groundwater are contaminated with volatile organic compounds and polyaromatic hydrocarbons from past operations at the former laundry and dry-cleaning facility. Volatile organic compounds can evaporate into the air and potentially impact people’s health. Polyaromatic hydrocarbons are a group of chemicals that are formed during the incomplete burning of coal, oil, gas, wood, garbage or other organic substances. Exposure to these contaminants can have serious health impacts and increase the risk of cancer.
EPA is encouraging the public to comment on the plan through Jan. 17, 2012, and plans a public meeting on Jan. 3, 2012.
EPA is proposing to demolish the main building on the nine-acre property and dig up contaminated soil, debris and sediment from a wetland around the building. EPA will use two approaches to address the contaminated soil due to differences in the two types of pollution. All of the excavated soil that is contaminated with volatile organic compounds will be sent to a licensed off-site facility to prevent it from further contaminating the groundwater.
Soil that is contaminated with volatile organic compounds has the ability to move down through the soil and contaminate the groundwater. Polyaromatic hydrocarbons remain bound to soil and are not impacting the aquifer, so they will be properly managed on-site. All excavated areas will be filled and covered with clean soil.
EPA plans to treat the contaminated groundwater using chemicals called oxidants. Any wetlands that are disturbed will be restored. The plan also requires restrictions that will prevent activities that could disturb the cleaned up areas and will prohibit any future residential construction on site. EPA will carefully oversee operations and monitor future activities on the site.