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Hazardous Waste Cleanup: Ashland Chemical Company in Rensselaer, New York

On this page:

  • Cleanup Status
  • Site Description
  • Contaminants at this Facility
  • Site Responsibility

Cleanup Status                         

The remedy for the site was approved by EPA, in consultation with the New York State Department of Conservation (NYSDEC) and New York State Department of Health (NYSDOH), in 2009, was started in 2010, and includes the following components: on-site enhanced bioattenuation (enhancement of natural microbiological processes that degrade chlorinated compounds by introducing organic compound sources (e.g. molasses, emulsified vegetable oil) to the impacted groundwater); monitored natural attenuation, groundwater monitoring, institutional and engineering controls, and groundwater monitoring and if necessary, evaluation of additional vapor monitoring at the downgradient former Volvo Service Center.

Cleanup measures that were previously implemented include the excavation and on-site treatment by enhanced aeration techniques of 6,000 cubic yards of contaminated soil; and installation of a buried culvert to isolate a small unnamed creek that runs through the site. 

Site Description

The Ashland site is approximately 4.8 acres in size and is located at 130 South Street in the City of Rensselaer, Rensselaer County, New York. The main site area is bordered by CSX Transportation and rail lines to the west, undeveloped land to the north, South Street to the east, and Columbia Turnpike to the south.

The commercial history of the site began in 1892 when a slaughter house occupied the southern portion of the site. Chemical related industry began in 1909 when Empire Size and Chemical Corporation acquired the site and continued through successive owners until Ashland purchased the site in 1969 from Eastern Chemical.

The site has most recently been used by Ashland for a chemical distribution facility, however these operations were discontinued in 2001. The site is now vacant and is enclosed by a six-foot high chain link fence.

Contaminants at this Facility

Groundwater at the facility is contaminated with chlorinated volatile organic compounds (CVOCs). Concentrations of these CVOCs exceed New York State standards for a number of contaminants including tetrachloroethylene (PCE), trichloroethylene (TCE), benzene, toluene, ethylbenzene, xylene (BTEX), vinyl chloride and number of breakdown products (cis-1,2-DCE and trans-1,2-DCE).

Site Responsibility at this Facility

In 1984, Ashland entered into a Consent Agreement/Consent Order with EPA that required investigation and remediation of potentially hazardous constituents, believed to have originated from an underground leaking tank at the facility. A 1992 Administrative Order on Consent requires Ashland to continue with investigative and remedial activities at the plant site. All studies, work plans and corrective measures are reviewed by EPA, in consultation with the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (NYSDEC) and the New York State Department of Health (NYSDOH).