EPA releasing treated water from Superfund site

KINDERHOOK–The federal Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) said this week it would begin discharging treated water from the Dewey Loeffel Landfill Superfund Site into the Valatie Kill January 24. An email sent to local news outlets by Mary Mears, the EPA’s deputy director public affairs and chief public outreach branch for this area, says that the water has been tested and any potentially harmful substances detected are at levels below the limits set by federal and state safety standards.

The site and the water treatment plant are in the Rensselaer County Town of Nassau. The Valatie Kill flows southwest from Nassau through parts of Columbia County and Kinderhook Lake, which borders on the Towns of Kinderhook and Chatham.

Local governments, including the Towns of Kinderhook and Chatham as well as the county Board of Supervisors, have asked that the federal government not release the treated water into the Valatie Kill until the government conducts health and environmental reviews.

The Valatie Kill eventually joins the Kinderhook Creek at Valatie. Kinderhook Creek empties into the Hudson River.

 

Ms. Mears wrote in a January 23 email, “The data show no detectable levels of most contaminants tested for, including PCBs and the contaminant 1, 4-dioxane. Detectable levels of some metals, including mercury, were well below the limits set by New York State Department of Environmental Conservation for discharging into the Valatie Kill.”

A water treatment plant was constructed at the Superfund site in the Town of Nassau to treat groundwater and other liquids (called leachate) that have been seeping out of the closed industrial landfill. For over a decade in the 1950s and ’60s, several major companies with facilities in the Capital District dumped waste materials into the landfill. According to the EPA, the waste dumped at the site included “industrial solvents, waste oils, polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), scrap materials, sludge and solids.”

“As part of this process, the EPA is requiring that water treated in the plant be pumped into tanks and thoroughly tested before going into the Valatie Kill,” Ms. Mears’ says in her email. Earlier attempts by the state to contain the hazardous substances at the site failed, and EPA eventually assumed responsibility for the cleanup. In 2012, General Electric and Schenectady Chemicals (now SI Group), two of the companies that used the dump, came to an agreement with the EPA to take over the cleanup.

Valatie Mayor Diane Argyle said earlier this month that she was drafting a motion asking that the plant be inspected as well as the water.

To contact reporter Emilia Teasdale email .

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