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The GE Moreau site is located in Moreau, New York. A pit on the site was used by the General Electric Company (GE) for the disposal of industrial waste from 1958 to 1968. Soil, surface water and groundwater are contaminated with hazardous substances. Cleanup actions at the site were completed in 1990, and maintenance and monitoring are ongoing. While groundwater at the site continues to exceed federal cleanup levels for several chemicals of concern, there are currently no exposure pathways that could result in unacceptable risks to the public. .

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What Is Being Done to Clean Up the Site?

Initial Actions: In 1978, about 100 cubic yards of contaminated soils were removed from the pit area for off-site disposal. The pit was covered with a soil mix to reduce exposure and potential volatilization, and the area was fenced and posted. As a temporary measure, activated carbon filter systems were also installed in nearby homes where drinking water was contaminated with volatile organic compounds (VOCs). VOCs are potentially harmful contaminants that can easily evaporate into the air.

Long-Term Cleanup: In 1985, GE installed a containment system consisting of a soil-bentonite cutoff wall and cap around the disposal pit. Contaminated soils from the roads were dug up and placed in the containment system before it was capped. GE also installed an air stripper on Reardon Brook to treat contaminated groundwater after it discharges to surface water.

Cleanup actions were completed in 1990. Maintenance and monitoring are ongoing to ensure the effectiveness of the containment system. The air stripper on Reardon Brook is operated by the Village of Fort Edward.

Based on maintenance and monitoring data collected following the installation of the containment system, in 1991, it was determined that an estimated 55,000 to 65,000 gallons of water were being lost through the cutoff wall annually. The EPA determined that the containment system should be enhanced to reduce exfiltration by lowering the water level inside the cutoff wall to a level below that of the surrounding aquifer, thereby creating an inward hydraulic gradient across the cutoff wall. These findings were documented in the February 1994 Explanation of Significant Differences (ESD). The ESD required an enhancement of the containment system to change its performance criteria to include maintaining an inward hydraulic gradient across the soil-bentonite cutoff wall.  Periodic dewatering of the containment system was performed from 1994-1996, 2003-2004, 2011, and 2014.

In an October 1994 ESD, EPA waived the cleanup standards for groundwater in the plume, based on the technical impracticability of attaining those standards in a reasonable time period. The waiver did not change cleanup standards for Reardon Brook after treatment by the air stripper.

The EPA documented the completion of the construction of the site’s remedy in March 1997. In May 2001, the Town of Moreau adopted regulations containing institutional controls and restrictions on groundwater usage within a reasonable buffer area around the plume. In addition, the locality extended the public water supply to include all residences near the plume.

In late 2002, concerns arose nationwide that under certain conditions, VOCs might vaporize from contaminated groundwater and rise up through the soils to enter buildings. In response, 12 residences along Bluebird Road (located over and near the groundwater plume) and Moreau Elementary School (near the plume) were tested for vapor intrusion. None was found. Other areas of testing included a small ponded area in a sand pit adjacent to the site and soil gas testing at a nearby planned subdivision.

The EPA has conducted five five-year reviews at the site. These reviews ensure that the remedies put in place protect public health and the environment, and function as intended by site decision documents. The most recent review was completed in September 2013 and concluded that the implemented remedial actions currently protect human health and the environment in the short-term. In order to be protective in the long-term, further delineation of the plume and an update to the conceptual site model is necessary.  The next five-year review will be completed by September 2018. 

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What Is the Current Site Status?

All cleanup actions have been implemented at the GE/Moreau site. The site no longer poses a threat to nearby residents or the environment. GE is required to operate, maintain, and monitor the remedy at the site. Approximately 100 residences located nearest to the site were connected to a public water supply system. These residences were subsequently incorporated into a new water district which extends well beyond the area of the site, and which is connected to a regional water supply system to insure reliability.

The air stripper at Reardon Brook continues to treat approximately 215 million gallons per year of contaminated water; it is expected to operate for more than 200 years.

Groundwater and surface water samples are collected semiannually in order to monitor the contaminated groundwater plume.

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EPA’s Involvement at the Site

The site is located just west of Fort Edward Road in the Town of Moreau, Saratoga County, New York, approximately 40 miles north of Albany and less than one mile from the Hudson River. The site is in a semirural area and includes a 10-acre fenced hazardous waste containment/ treatment system area on the western end of a 26-acre property owned by GE. The surrounding area includes residences, undeveloped land, a utility right of way, and a former sand pit. From 1958 to 1968, the site was used by GE for the disposal of industrial waste. A 30- by 40-foot pit at the site was used to dispose of approximately 450 tons of waste material, including trichloroethylene (TCE), polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), spent solvents, oils, sludge, and other miscellaneous waste. The dirt roads at the site were also treated with PCB-contaminated oil as a dust suppressant. A 4,800-foot long by 2,000-foot wide groundwater plume, containing TCE and other volatile organic compounds (VOCs) emanates from the former disposal pit and flows southward under homes along Bluebird Road. The plume continues southward under undeveloped land owned mostly by the Town of Moreau (i.e., park land and the Moreau Elementary School nearby to the west) and the Village of Fort Edward (watershed property), where it discharges at the base of an escarpment into Reardon Brook. A downstream air stripper treats the water in Reardon Brook, which then flows into the Village of Fort Edward reservoir system. Approximately 14,300 people are served by the groundwater in the area.

In September 1983, the site was added to the Superfund National Priorities List. In November 1983, the EPA issued an Administrative Order on Consent in which GE agreed to, among other things, conduct a remedial investigation/feasibility study (RI/FS) at the site to determine the nature and extent of the contamination and to identify and evaluate remedial alternatives, design and construct the remedy selected by the EPA, and conduct post-remediation monitoring and operation and maintenance.

Based on the results of the RI/FS, theEPA signed a Record of Decision (ROD) for the site on July 13, 1987. The major components of the selected cleanup remedy included:
•    Utilization of a cap over and a soil-bentonite cutoff wall around the former waste disposal area to contain the source of groundwater contamination;
•    Monitoring of 18 downgradient wells to ensure that the cutoff wall is containing the source of groundwater contamination and monitoring of 29 wells to determine if changes are occurring in the size and direction of the plume; 
•    Utilization of the air stripping system to remove VOCs from Reardon Brook;
•    Removal of PCB-contaminated soil adjacent to the disposal area and placement of these soils within the slurry wall;
•    Provision of a public water supply system to approximately 100 residences affected or potentially affected by the plume of contaminated groundwater; and
•    Institutional controls to restrict the withdrawal of groundwater from the aquifer in the vicinity of the groundwater plume until the groundwater standards are met.

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