Superfund Information Systems: Site Profile

Superfund Site:

MERCURY REFINING, INC.
COLONIE, NY

Cleanup Activities

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Background

The Mercury Refining, Inc. site is located on the border of the towns of Guilderland and Colonie, New York. From 1955 to 1998, Mercury Refining Company, Inc. (MERECO) used the half-acre area for reclaiming mercury from batteries and other mercury-bearing materials. Facility operations contaminated soils, groundwater and sediments in a tributary of Patroon Creek with polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) and mercury.

Cleanup at the site was completed in 2014. Long-term groundwater and ecological monitoring is ongoing.

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What Has Been Done to Clean Up the Site?

Cleanup activities at the site have removed contaminated soil and sediments that could pose a risk to current site workers and the environment. Quarterly groundwater monitoring and annual ecological (surface water, sediment, and fish tissue) monitoring are underway to ensure the continued performance of the implemented cleanup remedy. Institutional controls, in the form of an environmental easement, are being developed to: restrict the site to industrial use, preserve the existing clay and pavement caps, preserve the ISS area, control any future excavation of soil or building demolition, and restrict the use of groundwater. A site management plan has also been created to ensure that future activities at the site (i.e. building demolition, soil excavation, etc.) do not adversely affect the implemented cleanup remedy.

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What Is the Current Site Status?

Cleanup at the site was completed in October 2014. Currently, long-term quarterly groundwater monitoring and annual ecological monitoring are underway to ensure that the implemented cleanup remedy continues to perform as expected. Institutional controls are being developed to restrict the site to industrial use, prevent use of groundwater for drinking water, etc. in accordance with the ROD. The first five-year review of the site will be completed on or before June 2019.

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Enforcement Information

Between 2005 and 2016, EPA entered into a total of 13 settlements with 418 potentially responsible parties (PRPs) at the site, which include all of the viable and locatable PRPs.  Specifically, EPA entered into one ability to pay settlement with the owner and operator of the site, seven de minimis settlements with a total of 317 de minimis parties, two settlements in bankruptcy with two de minimis parties, a settlement agreement and order on consent for the performance of the remedial design (RD) with seven major parties, a unilateral administrative order for performance of the RD with two major parties, and a remedial action judicial consent decree with nine major parties, 19 federal agencies and departments, 42 de minimis parties, and the owner/operator. Through these settlements, EPA recovered over $6.5 million of EPA’s response costs and certain future response costs, and secured performance of the work. 

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