EPA Releases Cleanup Plan For Former General Electric Plant Site in New York

The proposal would implement natural attenuation in a contaminated state superfund site that originates in Auburn, New York.

After several years of consideration, the Environmental Protection Agency has released its proposed plan to clean up a portion of a contaminated former General Electric plant in New York state. The agency plans to hold a public meeting at a local high school on Aug. 8 to solicit feedback from the community.

The contaminated state superfund site, referred to as the Cayuga County Groundwater Contamination site, originates in the city of Auburn and stretches to the village of Union Springs, affecting the towns of Fleming, Springport and Aurelius, according to The Auburn Citizen.

In its proposal, the EPA suggests implementing a process of “natural attenuation,” or a naturally occurring reduction of levels of volatile organic compounds, in the site’s Area 3. The site was originally divided into three areas based on the severity of contamination, with Area 1 being the most heavily contaminated and Area 3 being the least, the Citizen reported.

“This proposed plan is one component of EPA’s long-term efforts to provide a cleanup for the Union Springs community,” Pete Lopez, an EPA regional administrator, said in a statement. “This plan reflects EPA’s commitment to prioritize the Superfund program and ensure that these sites are cleaned up as quickly and safely as possible.”

The first and second areas’ solutions include natural attenuation and bioremediation to promote the breakdown of volatile organic compounds, which can be dangerous to people’s health and the environment. The cleanup process for Area 1 began in 2016 and was estimated to cost General Electric nearly $23.5 million, the Citizen reported.

The plan for Area 3 was created based on data and trends observed by the EPA since it began sampling the site in 2002. After receiving public comments in 2012 and conducting a supplemental investigation, the EPA’s final cleanup proposal matched its initial recommended action of natural attenuation, the agency said.

Outside of the public meeting at Union Springs High School, additional public comments will be accepted until Aug. 27 and can be directed to rodrigues.isabel@epa.gov.

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