Superfund Information Systems: Site Profile

Superfund Site:


Cleanup Activities

On this page:

On related pages:


The 1.5-acre Fulton Terminals site is located in an urban area adjacent to the Oswego River in Fulton, New York. Millions of gallons of waste, oils, and sludge were stored in tanks at the site and groundwater, soil, and sediments were contaminated with volatile organic compounds (VOCs). p Visibly-contaminated soil and tar-like wastes andstorm drains were removed, contaminated soils were treated and replaced, and contaminated groundwater was treated. All physical cleanup activites at the site have been completed.

The primary activity on the site was the manufacturing of roofing materials from 1936 to 1960, which involved the storage of asphalt in above ground tanks and fuel oil storage in underground tanks. From 1972 to 1977, the site was used as a staging and storage area for materials scheduled for incineration at the Pollution Abatement Services site which also is on the federal superfund list in the area.  From 1981 to 1983, Fulton Terminals removed several tanks as part of a voluntary cleanup program. These activities ceased in 1983, after the facility was fined by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation for the improper disposal of polychlorinated biphenyls. The site was placed on the Superfund National Priorities List on September 5, 1983.

Top of Page

What Has Been Done to Clean Up the Site?

Initial Actions: Actions conducted in 1986 by EPA and the potentially responsible parties (PRPs) consisted of constructing a 7-foot perimeter fence around the site and posting warning signs, removing two aboveground tanks and two underground tanks, removing approximately 300 cubic yards of visibly-contaminated soil and tar-like wastes, and excavating storm drains that were acting as a conduit for contaminated runoff entering the Oswego River during storms. An additional removal action in 1990 involved the construction of earthen barriers for the prevention of surface runoff from the contaminated portion of the site.

Entire Site: In 1989, following the completion of a remedial investigation and feasibility study to determine the nature and extent of the contamination at and emanating from the site and to evaluate remedial alternatives, a Record of Decision (ROD) was signed, selecting a remedy for the site. Actions selected by EPA for site cleanup include low temperature thermal extraction to remove VOC contaminants from the soils and the use of carbon adsorption to collect the pollutants from the ground water, followed by the reinjection of the treated water.

The soil cleanup design was completed in March 1995. The cleanup of the contaminated soil, which commenced in April 1995, was completed in early March 1996. The engineering design for the cleanup of the ground water was completed in September 1994. After installing the ground water extraction wells, full-scale pumping and treatment of the ground water was performed through a temporary treatment system from February 1997 through May 1997. Subsequent geophysical investigations indicated that the freeze wall (a construction process whereby the ground was frozen at depth to allow the dry excavation of contaminated soils below the water table) remained intact in one downgradient location. Following the forced thaw of the freeze wall (via steam injection) by the PRPs in May 1998, the temperature of the ground water and the concentrations of contaminants were monitored. Groundwater samples collected in March 1999 indicated that the freeze wall was no longer intact ( i.e. , monitoring wells were free of ice) and that the contamination in this location continued to show a decreasing trend. Following the collection of ground water quality samples in early September 1999, EPA determined that the ROD requirements for the ground water remedy had been substantially met, and no further response, other than long-term ground water monitoring, was anticipated. A Preliminary Close-Out Report for the site was issued on September 27, 1999.

The groundwater long-term monitoring began in March 2000. After five years of monitoring, all of the monitoring wells, with the exception of one downgradient well, had met the cleanup standards. Because the ground water in this downgradient well continued to exceed the standard for one VOC, monitoring of this well continued.

EPA conducted five-year reviews at the site in 2004, 2009, and 2014. These reviews ensured that the remedies put in place protect public health and the environment, and function as intended by site decision documents. The reviews concluded that response actions at the site are in accordance with the remedy selected by EPA and that the remedy continues to be protective of human health and the environment. 

Based upon the results of groundwater samples collected in July 2016, June 2017, and September 2017, EPA determined that because the response action is completed, no further five-year reviews are necessary.   

Top of Page

What Is the Current Site Status?

This site was addressed in two stages: initial actions and a long-term remedial phase focusing on the cleanup of the entire site.

Cleanup included short term actions to remove underground tanks, secure the site and remove visibly-contaminated soil and tar-like wastes and long term actions to use low temperature thermal extraction to remove VOC contaminants from the soils and the use of carbon adsorption to collect the pollutants from the ground water.

The cleanup of contaminated soil removed a sizable source of ground water and surface water contamination. The pumping and treatment of  contaminated ground water reduced the VOCs in the core of the contaminated plume to below the ground water standards.

After cleaning up more than 10,000 cubic yards of contaminated soil and approximately nine million gallons of contaminated groundwater, EPA determined that the soil at the former facilityand the underlying groundwater no longer pose a threat to public health or the environment.  EPA removed the former facilityportion of the site from the federal Superfund list of the most contaminated hazardous waste sites on April 6, 2015. 

Because residual groundwater contamination was still present in one monitoring well located between the former facility portion of the site and the Oswego River, this 50-foot area remained on the Superfund list with the expectation that the levels of contamination in this area would decrease naturally. Groundwater samples were collected from this monitoring well in July 2016, June 2017, and September 2017.  Because the sample results indicated that contaminants were all below the cleanup levels, it was concluded that the groundwater remedy had achieved the cleanup levels selected for the site. An analysis of the data indicated that the contaminant levels in the groundwater will remain below standards. Therefore, EPA determined that the response action is completed and that no further groundwater monitoring or five-year reviews at the site are necessary. 

The remaining portion of the site was removed from the federal Superfund list of the most contaminated hazardous waste sites on July 20, 2018.


Top of Page