Superfund Information Systems: Site Profile

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The Vestal Water Supply Well 1-1 site (Site) is located in Vestal, New York. Well 1-1 was one of three production wells in Vestal Town Water District 1 intended to provide drinking water to several water districts in the Vestal area. Well 1-1 was moderately contaminated with several volatile organic compounds (VOCs). The Site also originally included Vestal Well 4-2 in Vestal Water District 4. However, EPA designated Well 4-2 as a separate Superfund site when sampling indicated that two separate sources contaminated Well 1-1 and Well 4-2. Prior to 1980, Well 1-1 pumped groundwater into the Susquehanna Riverto prevent the contaminant plume from affecting other District 1 wells. After immediate actions to protect human health and the environment, the Site’s long-term cleanup plan is ongoing. There are currently no human or environmental exposures to contaminated groundwater and soils.

In 1978, a chemical spill at an IBM plant in Endicott, New York led to a testing program for all nearby drinking water wells. Chlorinated solvents were discovered in Well 1-1 and it was was taken out of service and pumped to the Susquehanna River. Investigation later determined that the chlorinated solvents in Well 1-1 were not related to the spill at the IBM plant.

Until 1980, when it closed, Well 1-1 was the main source of water for Vestal Water District 1.. The Site is located on the southern bank of the Susquehanna River. An industrial park is located immediately southeast of the well. Several marshy areas and drainage ditches encompass and interlace the industrial park. The western part of the Site includes a water district well field, a soccer field and a fire department training center.

After immediate actions to protect human health and the environment,as well as further Site investigations, 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?

Immediate Actions: Well 1-1 was removed from service in 1980.

Groundwater Cleanup: Following a site investigation, EPA selected air stripping technology for Well 1-1. This remedy is intended to: (1) restore Vestal Water District 1 water supply capacity to the level that existed prior to the loss of Well 1-1; (2) provide the District with a water supply with a high level of public health protection; (3) hydraulically contain plume contaminants by pumping Well 1-1, thereby protecting other District 1 water supply wells; and (4) treat groundwater from Well 1-1 by air stripping to stop the discharge of contaminated water to the Susquehanna River.

Construction of the air stripping facility finished in 1990. When Well 1-1's yield decreased to a level potentially insufficient to contain the plume of contamination, EPA replaced Well 1-1 with Well 1-1A in 1993, which has a capacity similar to the original yield of Well 1-1.  Well 1-1A and the associated air stripping facility was designed to treat the groundwater plume and discharge the treated effluent to the Susquehanna River. In October 2006, the New York Department of Environmental Conservation (NYSDEC) assumed responsibility for operation and maintenance of the facility.

Source Remediation: An EPA investigation identified two specific source areas of contamination, designated as Areas 2 and 4, in the industrial park. It also evaluated possible contaminant source control measures to eliminate further groundwater pollution. Asoil vapor extraction (SVE) system was put into place to treat contaminated soils in Area 2. It operated from January 1997 to November 2000, and shut down after sampling confirmed the system successfully achieved site cleanup goals. A total of approximately 1,046 pounds of VOCs removed from Area 2 through the operation of the SVE system. Construction of the Area 4 SVE system took place from April to June 2003. The remedy also included monitoring of groundwater, with future treatment for heavy metals, if necessary.

In November 2005, EPA evaluated the progress of the SVE system in cleaning up Area 4. Sampling results showed that very high levels of VOCs remained in the deeper portion of the unsaturated zone and in the shallow portion of the saturated zone. To continue the cleanup, the remedy will need to be modified; the existing SVE system cannot readily remove VOCs from fine-grained sediments at the Site. The SVE system was shut down in 2006. A total of approximately 2,300 pounds of VOCs was removed from Area 4 through the operation of the SVE system. EPA completed delineating the horizontal and vertical extent of VOC contamination remaining at the Site and evaluating the Site subsurface geology and hydrogeology. During delineation of the remaining contaminated soils, an additional contaminated area was discovered which will also be remediated. In addition to VOCs, PCBs were detected in this area. The results of EPA’s investigation enabled the Agency to select a remedial alternative to address the remaining soil source contamination at the Site.

At present, in Sepetmber 2019, EPA approved the remedial design of the selected remedy for the contaminated soils (thermal treatment), as identified in the 2016 Amended ROD for OU-2.

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What Is the Current Site Status?

The Site is being addressed in three stages: immediate actions and two long-term remedial phases focused on cleanup of contaminated groundwater and soil source areas.

Cleanup has included removing Well 1-1 from the public water supply system, installing an air stripper on replacement Well 1-1A to treat contaminated groundwater and constructing soil vapor extraction (SVE) systems to treat contaminated soils at the two source areas, Areas 2 and 4.

By closing down the contaminated Well 1-1 and making Well 1-3 and Well 1-2A the primary supplies of drinking water, residents are no longer exposed to contaminated drinking water.  Weel 1-3 and Well-1-2A are located in another area of Vestal, New York.

The contaminated soil in Area 2 was remediated. EPA evaluated remedial alternatives to address the remaining soil contamination in Area 4. In Sepetmber 2016, EPA documented its selected remedy in a Record of Decision Amendment for Operable Unit Two.  EPA approved the remedial design for the selected remedy which is in situ thermal treatment of the identified contaminated soils.

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