Superfund Site Profile

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The Rosen Brothers Scrap Yard Dump is an abandoned scrap-metal processing facility which occupies approximately 20 acres on the southern side of the City of Cortland, New York. The site is surrounded by commercial, residential, and industrial properties. The site overlies the Cortland-Homer-Preble aquifer, a sole source aquifer used as a supply of potable water for the City of Cortland. The supply well for the city is located two miles upgradient of the site. The area currently occupied by the site is the eastern half of a forty-acre parcel of land that in the late 1800s was developed by the Wickwire Brothers, Inc. as an industrial facility for the manufacture of wire, wire products, insect screens, poultry netting, and nails. The eastern half of the property was used primarily as a scrap yard. An on-site pond was used as a cooling pond. The facility was sold to the Keystone Consolidated Industries, Inc in 1968. Keystone closed the facility in 1971, and shortly thereafter, the facility was destroyed by fire. In the early 1970s, Phillip and Harvey Rosen transferred their existing scrap-metal processing operation to the eastern portion of the property. The Rosen Brothers demolished the Wickwire buildings and used the debris to fill in most of the cooling pond. The area where the demolition of the buildings took place was cleared for the development of new industry in 1979, known as the Noss Industrial Park. Rosen Brothers' scrap metal operations included scrap metal processing and automobile crushing. Municipal waste, industrial waste and construction waste were allegedly intermittently disposed of in or on the former cooling pond. Drums were crushed on-site, the contents spilling onto the ground surface. The Rosen brothers were cited for various violations, including illegally dumping into Perplexity Creek Tributary, improperly disposing of waste materials, and operating a refuse disposal area without a permit. Operations on the site cease in 198 5, and the site was abandoned. In 1986, the State conducted an investigation of the site and concluded that hazardous materials were present on the site, including several hundred full and/or leaking drums, transformers filled with polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), and pressurized cylinders of unknown contents. Elevated levels of trichloroethane (TCA), PCBs, anthracene, pyrene, lead, and chromium, in site soil, sediment, and groundwater were detected. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) performed a removal action in 1987. EPA also issued Administrative Orders to Keystone and several additional potentially responsible parties (PRPs) in 1988 and 1989, requiring them to remove the materials previously staged by EPA. This work was completed in April 1990. The site was added to the National Priorities List in March 1989. PRPs conducted a remedial investigation/feasibility study (RI/FS) from January 1990 to 1997. The PRPs also voluntarily demolished and removed buildings and a smoke stack; removed and recycled 200 tons of scrap materials; emptied and disposed of contents of an abandoned underground storage tank and removed a small concrete oil pit. In August 1997, the EPA removed and recycled over 500 tons of scrap metal and more than 20 tons of tires form the site. A Unilateral Administrative Order was issued in February 1990 and also in March 1998, which required PRPs to perform a removal action. A Record of Decision (ROD) was issued in March 1998.