VALATIE – The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has completed its initial evaluation of the waterbodies connected to the Dewey Loeffel Landfill Superfund site after the July 14 severe weather event.
Operations at the landfill caused polychorinated biphenyls (PCBs) to migrate to waterbodies connected to the site, such as Little Thunder Brook and the Valatie Kill. During the storm, these waterbodies experienced high flows, erosion, and flooding. Following the storm event, samples were collected to assess conditions in the waterbodies. Surface water samples were collected and sediment samples were also collected downstream on residential properties where sediment was deposited as a result of the flooding.
The sediment deposit sampling targeted residential areas located along the Valatie Kill within the village of Nassau, as well as residential areas north of the village along the Valatie Kill and Nassau Lake. The samples were collected between July 22 and 26, and analyzed for PCBs.
In Nassau, PCBs were either not detected or were present at low concentrations below the regulatory level established by the state for residential soil. Based on the results, EPA does not anticipate further sampling in these areas as part of the ongoing storm response.
Follow-up sampling is being performed to evaluate an area where PCBs were detected near the site in the vicinity of Mead Road.
Surface water samples were also collected from Little Thunder Brook and the Valatie Kill on July 19 to assess post-flood conditions. The results are consistent with historical results and in line with levels previously observed at the sampling locations. Additional water sampling will be performed as part of the ongoing assessment of post-flood conditions.
A portion of the brook was cleaned up in 2018 and 2019 to address sediment and soil impacted by PCBs. The storm event caused high flows that eroded some areas of Little Thunder Brook. Areas that experienced erosion will be replaced with clean soil and stone. Measures to control turbidity, such as stone dams, have also been reinstalled in Little Thunder Brook to limit the potential for sediment to move downstream.
There were no significant impacts to the landfill at the site or to the site’s groundwater extraction and treatment system, which remained operational throughout the event.
The EPA will continue to closely coordinate with the state Departments of Environmental Conservation and Health and GE, one of the companies responsible for performing work at the site, to evaluate both short-term and long-term response measures.
The Dewey Loeffel site, near the Village of Nassau, was a dumping ground for toxic waste for companies like GE for many years in the 1950s and ’60s. The state stepped in to start the clean-up, and in 2011 the EPA declared the landfill a Superfund Site. A settlement was agreed on with GE and a company called SI to build the $2.5-million water treatment plant on the site. Treated water has been released into the Valatie Kill since early 2014.
Under the federal Superfund program, the comprehensive investigation and study of the landfill, groundwater and drainageways, including Little Thunder Brook, is ongoing and will lead to the selection of final cleanup plans for the site.
Information on the treated water and the plant is at https://cumulis.epa.gov