Solid Waste & Recycling Magazine


EPA targets leaks at eastern NY landfill

The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) says it has stepped up its technological battle against the culprits of leachate and contaminated water seeping from the Dewey Loeffel Landfill Superfund landfill site in eastern New York state.

After first introducing a treatment plant for the landfill in January 2014, the EPA announced on July 21, 2014 that an additional treatment system will be added to tackle the long-term treatment of the chemical 1,4-dioxane, a stabilizer and solvent component in cosmetics, detergents and shampoos.

The new system will be in place by November 2014.

Since the treatment plant began operating in January 2014, the EPA has required that the treated water be stored in a series of three on-site storage tanks and tested before each individual tank is discharged to the Valatie Kill. This tank-by-tank process will continue until 7 to 10 days prior to delivery of the new treatment system, expected in late October. In order for the new system to be installed, the storage tanks at the site will need to be removed. The EPA will approve direct discharge from the plant to the Valatie Kill at that time, provided the sampling data continue to meet the stringent discharge limits set by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation. It is anticipated that the EPA will have sampling data from about 40 individual tanks by the time it allows any direct discharges from the treatment plant.

From 1952 until 1968, the site was used for the disposal of an estimated 46,000 tons of waste materials generated by several Capital District companies including General Electric, Bendix Corporation (now Honeywell International, Inc.) and Schenectady Chemicals (now SI Group, Inc.). The waste included industrial solvents, waste oils, polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), scrap materials, sludge and solids. Volatile organic compounds and other hazardous substances have seeped out of the landfill and contaminated the groundwater. PCBs have also moved downstream, causing contamination of sediment and several species of fish in and near Nassau Lake.

The treatment plant was built and is being operated by the two companies responsible for the cleanup, GE and the SI group, under a 2012 agreement with the EPA. The added treatment is being installed because the EPA and the companies have agreed that adding the specialized treatment is the best long-term treatment option for 1,4-dioxane.