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The Tri-Cities Barrel site is located in Fenton, New York.

From 1955 to 1992, used drums were reconditioned at the facility on the 14.9-acre property. The drums, which were brought to the site from many different sources, typically contained residues of a variety of chemical compounds used in industrial and commercial operations. Depending on the nature of the residues, Tri-Cities Barrel Co. employed various processes to remove such residues, including water and caustic sodium hydroxide solutions, incineration, particle blasting and scraping. Following cleaning, if necessary, the drums were reformed and repainted. Reconditioned drums were staged in box trailers or outdoors. As many as 1,000 drums per week were reconditioned at the facility.

From the beginning of the facility's operations to the early 1960s, liquid wastes from the reconditioning process were discharged to the ground and allowed to flow downslope to Osborne Creek. This practice created a distinctive drainage pattern. From the early 1960s to 1980s, liquid wastes were discharged into a series of unlined lagoons on the site. These lagoons were reportedly 3 to 4 feet deep. Prior to the completion of construction of I-88 through this area in 1968, there were five lagoons north of the former process building that were aligned along a north-south line in the same general area as the earlier discharge pattern. After the construction of I-88, the liquid wastes were directed from east to west across the site through the lagoons. The discharge from these lagoons flowed to the western tributary.

Tri-Cities Barrel Company discontinued its practice of discharging liquid wastes to the lagoons in 1980. By 1981, the three lagoons south of I-88 had been backfilled with about 7,000 cubic yards of fill. Following the closure of the lagoons, the liquid wastes generated in the drum cleaning process were collected in a holding tank and hauled off-site for disposal. Upon installation of a closed-loop wastewater recirculating system, only infrequent off-site disposal of the liquid wastes was necessary.

Drum reconditioning operations ceased at the facility in 1992. During 1992 and 1993, the property was used by Tri-Cities Barrel Co. to broker clean drums that were brought in by the company from off-site sources, and to sell the existing inventory of empty, clean plastic drums.

After immediate actions to protect human health and the environment and site investigations, EPA placed the site on the Superfund program’s National Priorities List in October 1989.

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What Has Been Done to Clean Up the Site?

Immediate Actions: From October 1996 through January 1997, a removal action resulted in the disposal of all on-site containers, drums, and tanks; decontamination and removal of equipment used during the operation of the drum reconditioning business; and decontamination, demolition, and disposal of all structures on site.

Long-term Cleanup: Following a remedial investigation and feasibility study to determine the nature and extent of site contamination, and to evaluate remedial alternatives, EPA selected a remedy in a March 2000 Record of Decision, or ROD. The selected remedy called for the excavation and off-site treatment and disposal of contaminated soils and sediments and the extraction and treatment of contaminated groundwater. The implementation of the soil and sediment remedy started in June 2003 and finished in November 2003.

The ROD called for, among other things, the excavation of contaminated soil exceeding contaminant-specific soil cleanup objectives. The presence of a utility pole on-site prevented the full excavation of the contaminated soil in the area surrounding the pole.  In addition, one other adjacent area could not be fully excavated without compromising the integrity of an adjacent public road. Therefore, a liner was placed over the contaminated soil remaining in these areas before backfilling the excavation area with clean fill.

EPA determined that a survey map depicting the location of the contaminated soil, liner, and backfill should be recorded in the office of the County Clerk of Broome County to establish the restrictions against intrusive activities at such area pursuant to a 1996 Grant of Easement and Declaration of Restrictive Covenants (1996 Easement and Covenants) previously recorded in the Broome County Clerk’s office.  In addition, letters were sent by EPA to the local electric utility and the Fenton Town Highway Department requesting that if utility workers need to perform intrusive activities associated with the utility pole (e.g., replace the pole) or if repairing, replacing, or expanding the road requires intrusive activities in the capped area, the performing party will need to consult with and coordinate this work with EPA, the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, and the New York State Department of Health to minimize human exposure to contaminated soil. Signage will provides a further degree of protection to utility and highway department workers.

The noted changes to the remedy were reflected in a January 2017 Explanation of Significant Differences. 

Post-excavation groundwater samples were collected as part of a groundwater monitored natural attenuation study. The results of the study indicated that natural attenuation is occurring in most areas of the site. In one area of the site, however, natural attenuation is not occurring. Measures to address the contamination in this area, known as the MW-19 Area, were evaluated. These measures included an enhanced reductive dechlorination pilot-scale treatability study and a supplemental source investigation. A source for the contamination in this area could not be identified.

EPA modified the site’s groundwater remedy through a ROD amendment in September 2011. The major components of the modified groundwater remedy include natural attenuation of the groundwater contamination throughout the site, except in the MW-19 Area; long-term groundwater monitoring to verify that the level and extent of groundwater contaminants are declining within the timeframe projected and that conditions are protective of human health and the environment; and periodic monitoring of nearby residential wells. In addition, EPA determined that the restoration of the groundwater in the MW-19 Area is technically impracticable from an engineering perspective due to the ineffectiveness of active remedies in the low permeable soils found at the site, the limited mobility of the groundwater contamination, and the inability to locate a source. A technical impracticability waiver was approved for the MW-19 Area.

The ROD amendment also noted that if, in the future, structures are proposed to be built on the property, a soil vapor intrusion evaluation and, potentially, vapor mitigation may be needed, or alternatively just soil vapor mitigation.  As a governmental institutional control, the Office of the Town of Fenton Building Inspector has acknowledged to EPA that such office will notify any person seeking to build residential structures at the site of soil vapor concerns relating to the property, and specifically of the need for a soil vapor evaluation and potentially, soil vapor mitigation systems or, alternatively just soil vapor mitigation.

Five-year reviews are conducted at sites to ensure that the implemented remedies protect public health and the environment and that they function as intended by the site decision documents.  The first five-year review, which was completed in September 2016, concluded that the implemented remedy is functioning as intended by the decision documents and is protecting human health and the environment.  The next five-year review will be conducted before September 2021.


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What Is the Current Site Status?

Long-term monitoring associated with the selected monitored natural attenuation remedy started in December 2011. It is continuing on a semiannual basis. The site is reviewed every five years to ensure that the implemented remedy continues to be effective and protect public health and the environment. The next five-year review will be conducted before September 2021.






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