Settlement Nets $12 M for Newburgh Site Cleanup

In the first week of February, parties considered potentially responsible for the contamination at Consolidated Iron and Metal Superfund site in Newburgh, N.Y., agreed to pay the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency just over $12 million toward cleaning up the site.

An agreement with the cities of Newburgh and Poughkeepsie, Connell Limited Partnership, International Business Machines Corp., and Northrop Grumman Ship Systems, Inc., as well as 13 other settling parties, was entered with the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York on Feb. 3. EPA will use the funds to clean up the contamination at the site.

"EPA has already done a great deal at the Consolidated Iron and Metal site," said George Pavlou, acting regional administrator. "We are extremely satisfied with the agreement and look forward to completing the cleanup of this site so that the community can one day put the property back to productive use."

The Consolidated Iron and Metal Co. operated at the site for approximately 45 years before closing in 1999. The company processed cars and other metal materials for resale and operated a smelter primarily to melt aluminum scrap materials, transmissions, and other metallic materials. These activities created contaminated soil, lead-contaminated ash, and other by-products. The site was covered with piles of debris, scrap metal, and numerous areas of dark-stained soil. In the late 1990s, the N.Y. State Department of Environmental Conservation (NYSDEC) conducted several inspections at the facility and cited the owner for a number of violations. Subsequent inspections by NYSDEC revealed that the owner had not corrected the violations. In the fall of 1999, the New York State Attorney General shut down operations at the site.

In 1998, EPA sampled an ash pile at the site and found it was contaminated with lead and polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs). Approximately 6,600 tons of materials were removed from the site in 1999 and placed in an approved treatment, storage, and disposal facility. EPA also constructed a mound at the site to prevent stormwater from carrying contaminants into the Hudson River. The site was placed on the National Priorities List of the country's most contaminated sites in June 14, 2001.

EPA constructed a security fence and began removing thousands of tons of debris and contaminated soil from the site in June 2003. After an extensive investigation, EPA issued a final clean-up plan, called a Record of Decision, in October 2006. This plan includes removing and disposing of approximately 78,000 cubic yards of contaminated soil from the site and backfilling with clean fill, groundwater monitoring, and institutional controls in the form of deed restrictions. This past fall, EPA began preparing the site for the final cleanup. These preparatory activities included the demolition and removal of remaining building foundations, the removal of scrap metal, debris, and contaminated soil. EPA plans to begin removing the soil later this year.

Under the agreement, EPA will get $12,062,000 in three payments ending in January 2010. The money will be used, along with other Superfund and state money, to clean up the site, which will cost an estimated $20 million. As part of the agreement, EPA won't sue the companies for any more clean-up costs for this site. The companies also agreed that any money they get by suing third parties would be split 50-50 with EPA, until each party has received $1 million; with varying percentages beyond that dollar amount. Newburgh will give EPA the net proceeds from selling the property if the price exceeds the appraised value.

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