Agency Delists Parts of Griffiss Superfund Site

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has finalized its decision to remove 23 parcels, or approximately 2,900 acres of property, on the former Griffiss Air Force Base from the Superfund National Priorities List (NPL).

For these areas, all appropriate Superfund cleanup work has been completed, and the properties pose no significant threat to public health or the environment, according to an April 3 press release. However, these areas will continue to be maintained and their status reviewed. Remediation efforts will continue on other portions of the base, which will remain on the NPL.

"Since the beginning of the clean-up program in 1987, reuse and redevelopment have been a goal that everyone has been working to achieve at Griffiss," said Walter Mugdan, director of Emergency & Remedial Response Division for Region 2 of EPA. "The clean-up actions taken and now the transfer of a significant amount of property to the community are examples of Superfund at its best, and we are proud to have partnered with New York State and the Air Force in reaching this milestone."

The former base covers approximately 3,550 acres, across which EPA identified 32 areas of concern. Subsequently, the Air Force spent more than 20 years and approximately $138 million to address the concerns, especially on the portions of the base being removed from the Superfund listing. This action is the largest total Air Force acreage delisting since 4,198 acres of Luck AFB, Ariz., were removed from the list in 2002. Including Griffiss, the Air Force has 30 Superfund sites remaining.

A Local Reuse Authority (LRA) called Economical Development Growth Enterprises Corporation has been actively working to establish new businesses within the former base property. EPA worked with LRA, the state, and the Air Force to evaluate the environmental condition of the properties being proposed for deletion and approved the 23 parcels. These properties were identified and discussed in a Federal Register posting, and EPA requested public comments on the proposed action. Having received no comments, EPA has finalized its decision.

The former base is also included on New York State's Registry of Inactive Hazardous Waste Sites. Now that the federal delisting has been finalized for the 23 parcels, the state has also commenced the process to remove these parcels from the state's registry.

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