Superfund Information Systems: Site Profile

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The 17-acre York Oil Co. site is located in Franklin County, New York. The York Oil Company recycled waste oil at this location from 1962 until 1975. Facility operators collected crankcase and industrial oils, some containing polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), from sources in New England and New York. They stored or processed the oils at the facility. The recycled PCB-contaminated oil was sold as No. 2 fuel oil or used for dust control for unpaved roads nearby. During heavy rains and spring thaws, the oil-water mixture in the lagoons often overflowed onto surrounding lands and into adjacent wetlands, which the company purchased in 1964. A state road crew first reported contamination at the site in 1979.

In 1980, EPA began emergency cleanup activities at the site. In 1982, Franklin County assumed ownership of the site property because of unpaid taxes.

EPA placed the site on the Superfund program’s National Priorities List in September 1983.

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What Has Been Done to Clean Up the Site?

The site is being addressed in three stages: emergency actions and two long-term remedial phases focused on source control and contamination pathways.

Emergency Actions: In 1980, EPA began emergency cleanup activities at the site. It secured the site to limit access. To reduce the threat of direct contact with hazardous substances, EPA removed oil and contaminated water from the lagoons, which then were filled with a concrete byproduct and sand. The top three feet of oil-soaked soil was removed from the neighboring wetlands. Contaminated oil was transferred to aboveground storage tanks, and contaminated soil was contained on-site. Contaminated water from one of the lagoons was treated and discharged into the wetlands. An interceptor trench was dug to alter the flow of surface water and groundwater. In 1983, EPA conducted additional emergency actions--collecting oil seeping into drainage ditches; installing a new filter fence system; and posting warning signs. EPA developed a schedule for collecting oily leachate and replacing sorbent pads, and began monitoring the site. In August 1992, EPA stabilized leaking tanks and drums. In December 1994, EPA removed PCB-contaminated oil and drums of PCB-contaminated debris from the site. EPA also decontaminated and cut up several waste oil storage tanks and disposed of them off-site. In December 1995, EPA installed another interceptor trench to collect oil seeping into the wetlands.

Source Control: After the completion of a remedial investigation and feasibility study to determine the nature and extent of site contamination and to identify and evaluate remedial alternatives, EPA selected a remedy for the site in a 1988 Record of Decision, or ROD. The ROD called for excavating about 22,000 cubic yards of contaminated soils and 8,000 cubic yards of contaminated sediments and solidifying this material on-site, installing deep groundwater drawdown wells at the edges of the site to collect the sinking contaminated plume, installing shallow dewatering wells to collect contaminated groundwater and oil during excavation, treating these liquids and discharging the clean groundwater in accordance with state environmental requirements, removing about 25,000 gallons of contaminated tank oils, as well as other oils collected at the site, to an EPA-approved facility for incineration, cleaning and demolishing the empty storage tanks, backfilling solidified soil into the excavated areas, and inspecting the site every five years.

Off-Property Contamination: After investigations, EPA selected a remedy for the off-property portion of the site in a 1988 ROD. It called for the excavation of contaminated sediments, followed by solidification/stabilization and on-site disposal; natural attenuation of the groundwater contamination; institutional controls to prevent the installation and use of groundwater wells; and long-term groundwater monitoring.

About 21,000 tons of contaminated soils and sediments on-site were excavated and treated. About 18,000 tons of contaminated sediments from the contamination pathways were excavated and treated. All of the treated material was placed under a cap on the site.

Construction of the above-noted remedies was completed in September 2002.

Five-year reviews are conducted at sites to ensure that the remedies put in place protect public health and the environment and function as intended by site decision documents. Five-year reviews were conducted in November 1999, November 2004, November 2009, December 2014 and January 2020.  The most recent five-year review concluded that response actions at the site are in accordance with the remedies selected by EPA and that the remedies continue to be protective of human health and the environment in the short term. For the remedy to be protective in the long-term, further evaluation of the extent of natural attenuation, updating the conceptual site model for the site, and treatment options in the deep aquifer need to be evaluated and implemented. It is anticipated that the next five-year review will be completed in January 2025.


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What Is the Current Site Status?

Groundwater monitoring is ongoing.

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