The state Department of Environmental Conservation awarded a $16 million project to a Mechanicville company for the cleanup of 69,000 cubic yards of PCB-contaminated soil from a 12-acre Glenville site.
There is no dredging of PCBs from the Mohawk River associated with this project, said DEC spokeswoman Lori O’Connell.
More than 1.5 billion pounds of PCBs (polychlorinated biphenyls) were manufactured in the United States before the federal government banned their production in 1977.
According to the Environmental Protection Agency, PCBs have been demonstrated to cause a variety of adverse health effects and are considered probable human carcinogens.
The property slated for cleanup, at 34 Freemans Bridge Road, is listed in the state’s Registry of Inactive Hazardous Waste Sites as a Class 2 site, which means it represents a significant threat to public health or the environment.
As a result, remediation costs will be paid from the state Superfund program. When the cleanup is complete, the state will try to recover the project cost from the parties responsible for the contamination.
`The PCBs and contamination at this site came from past operations of poor disposal practices from the previous owners of the land,` O’Connell said. `Kitchton Cooperage Co. was the former operator and disposer that is responsible for the majority of this waste.`
Kitchton refurbished and resold containers such as barrels and 55-gallon drums, at least some of which contained hazardous materials.
In 1984, the site was listed on the state registry because of drums of waste behind a building. The owner was directed to remove the drums and the site was de-listed, according to O’Connell.
In 1989, drums were again discovered behind the site building, O’Connell said. `These may have been the same drums previously discovered in 1984.`
DEC officers from Region 4 removed approximately 80 of the 55-gallon drums and fined the owner for improper storage of hazardous wastes.
Seven years later, the property was considered for commercial development.
A consultant for Touhey Associates, which was acting as a volunteer, dug test pits and took soil samples to test for possible contaminants.
Results indicated PCBs were present in subsurface soils at concentrations in excess of 100 parts per million, ending those plans for commercial development.
DEC contractors performed an immediate investigation in June 1996; they dug additional test pits and installed several groundwater monitoring wells.
`PCBs were detected in surface soils at several locations at concentrations up to 33 parts per million,` O’Connell said. `Subsurface soils were also found to be contaminated with PCBs in concentrations up to 980 parts per million.
Groundwater was found to contain levels of PCBs, dichloroethene, benzene, toluene, ethylbenzene, xylenes, and several semi-volatile organic compounds at concentrations in excess of state standards. At least one monitoring well encountered a non-aqueous phase liquid (NAPL).`
NAPLs are a floating petroleum-based products that are separated from the groundwater by the treatment system and disposed of off-site.
O’Connell said the property was placed back on the registry in December 2006 as a Class 2 site. In addition, four nearby residential wells were sampled to assess whether the contamination had spread. None of the samples indicated site-related contamination, she said.
DEC recently awarded a $16 million remediation project to D.A. Collins Environmental Services to remove the contaminated soil from the Glenville property, thermally treat it, and replace it as clean backfill that will be covered by topsoil. The filled area will then be seeded with grass.
A small area of contaminated groundwater remaining outside the main contaminated area being excavated will be allowed to degrade naturally.
DEC engineers believe that with the source of the groundwater contamination removed, the groundwater plume would reach acceptable limits within five years.
Lyons Ventures, Inc., is the current owner of the property.