EPA recommends closing superfund site

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has proposed to remove an Oswego County superfund location from its national registry.

The Fulton Terminals Superfund site is located about 10 miles south of the city of Oswego on State Route 104 and is bordered to the south by Shaw Street. The 1.5-acre parcel of land was placed on the National Priorities List in 1983, according to the Third Five-Year Review Report for the site by the EPA from May 2014. The site is located approximately 50 feet from the Oswego River.

“The type of contamination that was addressed at the site over the long term was in two media, one was soil and the other one was groundwater,” said Elias Rodriguez, a public information officer for the EPA. “The groundwater remedy is totally complete, that soil was remediated and is OK essentially for unlimited use.”

The report states that the land was used by Fulton Terminals Inc. from 1972 to 1977 “as a staging and storage area for solvents and other materials that were scheduled for incineration at the Pollution Abatement Services facility located in Oswego, N.Y.” Prior to that, the site was used from 1936 to 1960 to manufacture roofing materials. This manufacturing process required oil to be stored underground in tanks. Both of these left the site contaminated.

The EPA has proposed all of the land, except for about 50 feet of land between the site and the river, to be removed from the Superfund list.

“When we have groundwater contamination, the plume is in the aquifer and depending on the size of the plume and depending on the contaminates, it can take decades to fully get to what we call our remedial objectives, which in simple terms is our cleanup goals,” Rodriguez said.

Wells at the site monitor groundwater pollution, which helps the EPA evaluate the status of the site in the cleanup process.

“We have different monitoring wells to test the water and see if it’s meeting our cleanup goals and in the case of this site all of the wells are fine except for one, which had one sample that came back, according to the project manager, marginally above the cleanup level that we want to see,” Rodriguez said. “For that technicality we can’t propose the entire site for delisting, we can propose the whole site except for this one narrow area, which I understand is about 50 feet.”

The goals established by the EPA to clean the site were to prevent contact with contaminated soil; to prevent migration of contaminated soil via surface water runoff and erosion; to ensure protection of groundwater and surface water from the continued release of contaminants from soils and to restore groundwater to levels consistent with state and federal water quality standards.

According to the report, the remediation of the soil was completed in 1996 while the completion of the groundwater remediation was in 1997.

“Essentially the remedy that was selected for the site was completed in 1997, a significant amount of time ago,” Rodriguez said.

He added that the soil at the site was excavated and treated and areas were backfilled with clean soil and a pump and treat system was put in place to treat the groundwater.

The proposal to delist the site is posted on the website of the U.S. Office of the Federal Register where it will remain open for public comment until March 6. If there are any comments received that impact the EPA’s decision to remove the Fulton Terminals site from the list then they will review the case, otherwise it will become effective on April 6.

“Millions of gallons of contaminated waste oil and sludge were stored at this location for years,” Administrator of EPA Region 2 Judith Enck said. “As a result of the EPA’s cleanup work, the risks to people’s health have been virtually eliminated.”
Once cleanup is all set and done, the city of Fulton would like to develop the site for use.