Superfund Information Systems: Site Profile

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he Black River PCBs Superfund site (Site) consists of a section of the Black River, beginning just below the dam at Carthage and West Carthage, NY, and extending downstream to the dam located at Herrings, NY. The Site was proposed for inclusion on the National Priorities List on March 4, 2010. State Route 3 runs along the northern edge of the river in the vicinity of the site. The site is currently delineated as a three mile stretch of the Black River

The Site consists of PCB-contaminated sediment. Historical information indicates that tanneries, paper mills, and other industries have operated along the Black River in the Villages of Carthage and West Carthage since the 1890s. There are three inactive paper mills, a machine shop, the Carthage/West Carthage Sewage Treatment Plant, and a hydroelectric power plant currently located along the Black River in the Villages of Carthage and West Carthage. Various sediment samples have been taken from the river bottom. Hazardous substances, including PCBs have been detected in sediment. The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation has collected sediment samples from the riverbed in a number of locations since 2001. The EPA collected sediment samples in 2009, 2010, 2014, and 2015

EPA placed the site on the Superfund program’s National Priorities List in September 2010. EPA is currently investigating site conditions.

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What Has Been Done to Clean Up the Site?

The Remedial Investigation began in September 2010 and continues with phased sampling efforts.  These efforts have included sampling river sediment, fish tissue, and flood plain soils. The RI/FS is anticipated to be completed in late 2019.

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What Is the Current Site Status?

EPA conducted a site investigation of the Black River in 2009 as part of evaluating the area for potential inclusion on the National Priorities List. EPA found that polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) were present in riverbed sediments at elevated concentrations. EPA completed additional sampling, including sediment and fish tissue sampling, in 2010. Furthermore, EPA performed sediment sampling and soil sampling (along the floodplain) in 2014, and sediment and fish tissue sampling in 2015. In 2016, the EPA performed additional activities at the Site, including a bathymetry survey, and surficial sediment sampling.  The EPA is currently doing a comprehensive remedial investigation and feasibility study to determine the nature and extent of contamination and to evaluate remedial alternatives. This work is ongoing.

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