Sep 16, 2010

SMS Instruments Site Removed From National Cleanup List

Cleanup measures included removal of volatile organic compound and heavy metal contamination in groundwater

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has successfully completed cleanup work at the SMS Instruments Superfund site in Deer Park, N.Y., and has deleted the site from the Superfund National Priorities List of the country’s most hazardous waste sites. After completing all the cleanup work needed to address contaminated soil and groundwater, and assessing recent monitoring data, the EPA determined that the cleanup was successful and that the site no longer poses a significant threat to public health or the environment. The primary contaminants at the site were volatile organic compounds, including benzene, ethylbenzene and xylenes, which can pose significant health risks.

“The cleanup of this site is a success and we can now remove this once hazardous property from the Superfund list,” said EPA Administrator Judith Enck. “Our assessment shows that the work we have done will fully protect people’s health and the environment.”

The SMS Instruments Superfund site is located on a 1.5-acre parcel in a light industrial and residential area of Deer Park. From 1971 to 1983, SMS Instruments Inc. overhauled military aircraft components and dumped wastewater from degreasing and other refurbishing operations into a leaching pool on site. In addition, an underground storage tank used to store fuel leaked, further contaminating soil and groundwater with volatile organic compounds and heavy metals including chromium and lead. In 1986, the EPA placed the site on the Superfund National Priorities List, and it was partly paid for by the responsible party.

The site was cleaned up in three stages. First, the industrial leaching pool was pumped out, backfilled with clean sand, and sealed. Next, the leaking underground storage tank was removed and the soil around it was excavated. The EPA then pumped contaminated groundwater to the surface, treated it to remove contaminants, and deposited it back into the groundwater. Finally, the EPA investigated the existence of other potential sources of contaminated groundwater in grades above the site and found none.

The public comment period for EPA’s direct final rule for deletion of the SMS Instruments site from the National Priorities List ended Aug. 29, 2010. Since no significant comments opposed to delisting, the ruling will became official Sept. 13, 2010, and the site was deleted from the list.

To date, nearly 350 Superfund sites nationally have been cleaned up and deleted from the list.