SOUTH GLENS FALLS, NY
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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. .
What Has Been 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.
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.