MARATHON BATTERY CORP.
COLD SPRINGS, NY
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The Marathon Battery Company site is located in Cold Spring, New York. The 70-acre area includes a now-demolished nickel-cadmium battery plant and 11 surrounding acres, the Hudson River in the vicinity of the Cold Spring pier and a series of river backwater areas known as Foundry Cove and Constitution Marsh. The battery facility operated from 1952 to 1979, producing military and commercial batteries. Facility operations contaminated soil on the plant grounds and adjacent properties and sediments in Foundry Cove, adjacent marshland and the Hudson River with heavy metals and groundwater with a volatile organic compound (VOC).
Following immediate actions to protect human health and the environment, the site’s long-term remedy was put in place. The EPA took the site off the Superfund program’s National Priorities List in October 1996. The site is now ready for reuse. East Foundry Marsh and East Foundry Cove have been acquired by Scenic Hudson, a conservation organization.
What Has Been Done to Clean Up the Site?
Immediate Actions: In 1989, fencing and screens were placed over the former battery plant's entrances and windows to limit access.Area I Cleanup: In 1986, after a remedial investigation and feasibility study (RI/FS) to determine the nature and extent of the contamination at and emanating from the Area I portion of the site and to evaluate remedial alternatives, the EPA selected a remedy to clean up East Foundry Cove Marsh and Constitution Marsh in a Record of Decision (ROD). It included: (1) dredging highly contaminated sediments from East Foundry Cove Marsh; (2) chemically binding the sediment and properly disposing of the watery component; (3) disposing of the treated sediments off site; (4) restoring the marsh by adding clean fill and clay and replanting; and (5) diverting storm sewers. Long-term sediment and water monitoring in East Foundry Cove Marsh and Constitution Marsh were also part of the plan. Cleanup of Area I was finished in the summer of 1995.
Area II Cleanup: The EPA selected the remedy for the Area II portion of the site in a 1988 ROD. It included: (1) decontaminating inside surfaces and contents of the former battery facility to remove dust containing heavy metals; (2) excavating cadmium-contaminated soil on the plant grounds and neighboring yards; (3) excavating the on-site vault containing dredge spoils from the 1973 dredging; (4) chemically binding, as needed, excavated soil, dust and vault sediments and disposing of them at an EPA-approved off-site facility; (5) backfilling excavated areas with clean fill and (6) natural attenuation for trichloroethylene (TCE)-contaminated groundwater.
Decontamination of the interior of the warehouse and its contents finished in the fall of 1992. Books were taken off site and recycled. A severe storm in 1994 caused a large portion of the factory roof to fall in and as a result, the remedy was changed to include demolition of the entire former battery facility. Remediation of residential yards finished in 1993. Cleanup of the plant grounds portion of Area II was finished in the summer of 1995. Groundwater monitoring results indicated that the TCE contamination was not responding to natural attenuation as quickly as expected. In February 2005, a pilot study started to study the viability of enhanced reductive dechlorination. Affected groundwater was injected with a hydrogen-release compound to accelerate the microbial degradation of TCE in the groundwater. This process involves injecting contaminated groundwater with an easily degradable carbohydrate solution (e.g., molasses), which provides excess organic carbon that promotes microbial activity in the aquifer, enhancing the breakdown of chlorinated VOCs. Although groundwater sampling following the first injection indicated that the technology showed promise, sampling from a later injection in October 2006 indicated that site conditions are not currently conducive to bioremediation. In 2011, another pilot study proposed to use an air sparge/vapor extraction (AS/SVE) system to remediate the groundwater plume. The AS/SVE system operated from 2012 through 2014 and removed 30 pounds of VOCs from the soils. The groundwater is currently being monitored to determine if the plume is attenuating or if the AS/SVE system needs to be reactivated.
Area III Cleanup: The EPA selected the remedy for the Area III portion of the site in a 1989 ROD. It included dredging 1 foot of sediments from East Foundry Cove and the Cold Spring pier area, chemically binding them and removing them from the site for disposal, and long-term monitoring of West Foundry Cove. The remediation of Area III was finished in the summer of 1995.
The EPA has conducted four five-year reviews at the site (1998, 2003, 2008 and 2013). These reviews ensure that the remedies put in place protect public health and the environment and function as intended by site decision documents. The reviews have concluded that response actions at the site are in accordance with the remedies selected by the EPA and that the remedies continue to be protective of human health and the environment. Because of nationwide concerns regarding vapor intrusion at residential properties near sites with volatile organic compound-contaminated groundwater, the 2008 five-year review called for a vapor intrusion survey. This work took place in early 2009. The subslabs of 10 homes were tested. Two homes required retesting. Retest results indicated that one of the homes would need regular indoor air monitoring. A mitigation system was installed at this home as an alternative to monitoring.
What Is the Current Site Status?
The cleanup of Areas I, II and III were completed in 1995. The EPA took the site off the Superfund program’s National Priorities List in 1996.Site monitoring includes the collection of groundwater, East Foundry Cove sediment samples and a vegetative inventory of East Foundry Cove Marsh. Annual site inspections are conducted to examine the restored marsh for invasive vegetative species, determine the percentage of vegetative cover on the cap in East Foundry Cove Marsh, identify irregular settlement, bubbles, erosion or other disturbances which might affect the integrity of the cap and vegetative cover, check the integrity of the fencing surrounding the plant grounds, and check the integrity of the monitoring wells. Maintenance is performed as necessary.