Superfund Information Systems: Site Profile

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The Jones Chemicals, Inc. site is located in Caledonia, New York. A chemical manufacturing plant at the 42-acre area repackaged chlorine from bulk containers into smaller containers for resale from 1942 to 1960. From 1960 to 1977, Jones Chemicals repackaged chlorinated solvents and petroleum products, including trichloroethylene (TCE) and tetrachloroethene (PCE). The company stopped repackaging solvents in 1985. The plant now produces sodium hypochlorite (bleach) solutions and sodium bisulfite. It also repackages chlorine, sulfur dioxide, inorganic mineral acids, sodium hypochlorite, ammonium hydroxide, caustic soda and various inorganic water-treatment chemicals. Spills occurred during the transfer and repackaging of many of these chemicals, contaminating soils and groundwater with hazardous chemicals. Following immediate actions to protect human health and the environment, the site’s long-term remedy was put in place. Long-term soil and groundwater treatment and monitoring are ongoing.

Jones Chemicals purchased most of the plant property in 1939. At the time, it included an orchard, agricultural fields and pasture lands. Soon after the purchase of the property, Jones Chemicals began the production of sodium hypochlorite (bleach). In 1942, Jones Chemicals purchased properties next to the plant to the north and east, and began repackaging chlorine from bulk sources to cylinders and 1-ton containers there. Titanium tetrachloride was briefly manufactured between 1942 and 1943 for the U.S. Government during World War II for use in smokescreen operations. Repackaging of anhydrous ammonia and acids began in 1947. The production of aqua ammonia and bulk storage of hydrochloric, sulfuric, nitric and hydrofluosilicic acids started in 1953. Between 1960 and about 1977, volatile organic compounds (VOCs), including PCE, TCE, toluene, 1,1,1- trichloroethane (1,1,1-TCA), methylene chloride and Stoddard solvent, were repackaged from bulk to smaller containers for sale/distribution. Aqua ammonia was produced by combining water and ammonia until 1995.

In 1971, Jones Chemicals began to transport commercial hazardous wastes not generated by the company. The hazardous waste materials were temporarily stored on-site prior to transport and disposal off site. Jones Chemicals discontinued the transportation and on-site storage of hazardous wastes in 1980. Repackaging of chemicals from bulk to small containers has been one of the primary activities at the plant. These repackaged chemicals not only include the chemicals manufactured at the plant, but also those that were brought in bulk loads for redistribution. Materials brought in bulk form were generally stored in shipping containers (i.e., railroad tank cars or tanker trucks), aboveground storage tanks and underground storage tanks. The majority of these tanks were taken out of service and removed between 1981 and 1986.

In 1986, the New York State Department of Health found VOCs and chlorinated solvents at the site. Investigations concluded that chemical handling and repackaging activities contaminated soil and groundwater at the site. EPA added the site to the Superfund program’s National Priorities List (NPL) in 1990.

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What Has Been Done to Clean Up the Site?

The site is being addressed in two stages: immediate actions and a long-term remedial phase focused on cleanup of the entire site.

Immediate Actions: To reduce the potential for further contamination, Jones Chemicals removed three underground storage tanks containing solvents in 1985 and all aboveground storage tanks containing solvents in 1990.

Long-Term Cleanup:

In 1991, under EPA oversight, Jones Chemicals, Inc. began a remedial investigation and feasibility study (RI/FS) to determine the nature and extent of the contamination at and emanating from the site and to identify and evaluate remedial alternatives.  Based on the results of the RI/FS, a remedy for the site was selected by EPA in a Record of Decision, or ROD, in September 2000. The selected cleanup plan calls for in-situ soil vapor extraction (ISVE) of the contaminated soils at the location of a former aboveground solvent tank, on-site groundwater extraction and treatment, in-situ chemical treatment of a groundwater contaminant hot spot, and natural attenuation of the groundwater outside the area of soil contamination. Implementation of the groundwater remedy commenced in September 2003. The ISVE system became operational in 2004.

EPA performs five-year reviews at sites to make sure implemented remedies protect public health and the environment and that they function as intended by site decision documents. EPA completed five-year reviews in September 2011 and September 2016.  In the most recent five-year review, EPA determined that the site-wide remedy is protective of human health and the environment in the short-term. In order for the remedy to be protective in the long-term, residual soil contamination remaining on-site needs to be addressed, off-property institutional controls need to be implemented, additional monitored natural attenuation parameters need to be collected, the groundwater monitoring well network needs to include additional wells, the effectiveness of the in-situ chemical oxidation treatment needs to be evaluated, and the air exchange in several locations needs to be increased to address elevated indoor air concentrations.  

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What Is the Current Site Status?

The groundwater extraction and treatment system operates 24 hours a day, pumping and treating approximately 300 gallons per minute. To date, the air stripper has treated more than 500 million gallons of contaminated ground water. The ISVE system has removed approximately 94 pounds of PCE and its breakdown products.

The items called for in the 2016 five-year review (see "What Has Been Done to Clean Up the Site?" section) have been or are currently being addressed.

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