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EPA Revises Plan for Groundwater Cleanup at Liberty Site

Monitoring would replace Plume B extraction and treatment.

The EPA announced Thursday that it proposes no further action on one part of the treatment of groundwater at the Liberty Industrial Superfund site.

Representatives, speaking at a public hearing at the Farmingdale Public Library, said the new "No Further Action" plan made the most sense financially.

The EPA's favored alternative, the GW-1 plan, would include no more on-property active treatment of Plume B and instead rely on natural attenuation of the site. That proposal replaces a plan selected in 2002 that involved extraction and treatment of the groundwater. The goal is to prevent human exposure to groundwater contamination.

The EPA plans to annually monitor Plume B. 

"We very closely evaluated both alternatives against the Superfund evaluation criteria," said Lorenzo Thantu, remedial project manager of the Eastern New York Remediation Section, who said that, with time, the levels of contaminants in the groundwater will, "Go down on their own."

The EPA's suggested remedy would be free of capital cost, due to the previous construction of the pump and treatment system at the site leaving a $913,000 cost for the continued treatment of Plume A and has a present worth cost of $11.9 million.

The second plan alternative, The GW-2, would consist of implementing the installation of a pump and treat system for the groundwater at Plume B, similar to the system that has previously treated the site and would also include a long-term monitoring component as well. The estimated cost of this plan would include $509,000 in capital costs, with annual costs of $913,000 to treat Plume A, $159,000 to treat Plume B, having a present worth cost of $14.2 million. The EPA says if this plan was followed through, it would take an estimated 18 months to construct.

"We have done rounds and rounds of Plume B groundwater sampling over the last 9-10 years and we have found that Plume B levels beneath the Liberty property have declined significantly to near drinking water standards. It would not make sense to spend close to $2 million to construct a Plume B treatment system on the property to treat something that is not really there," said Thantu.

The EPA also announced a change in restrictions on the future use of the site that has already been cleaned up to allow for recreational use.

"The town has got EPA's blessing to move forward with their plans to expand the Ellsworth Allen Park for western and central parcels," said Thantu.

The small crowd that turned out for Thursday's meeting raised a few questions but no obvious objections.

The public comment period regarding the plans for the Liberty site ends on Aug. 20. 

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