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Hazardous Waste Cleanup: Black & Decker Incorporated in Brockport, New York

On this page:

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

Cleanup Status                         

On-site Groundwater:
A groundwater quality assessment was conducted in the mid-1980s. The assessment identified a plume of VOCs within the bedrock. It was determined that groundwater extraction from the bedrock near the northern boundary of the facility would be an appropriate approach to mitigate the migration of the plume. To increase the degree of hydraulic interconnection of fractures, an interceptor drain was artificially created using controlled blasting techniques. A 300-foot-long fracture zone was created in the upper 25 feet of the bedrock perpendicular to the centerline of the contaminant plume. A recovery well was installed in the fracture zone.
The recovered groundwater is treated to remove VOCs using an on-site air stripper and then discharged to the adjacent Barge Canal under a State Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (SPDES) permit. Operation of this final corrective measure for on-site groundwater was initiated in May 1988. The system was enhanced in 1999 by deepening the western end of the trench, extending the trench to the east and replacing the existing single pumping well with three new pumping wells. While groundwater migration is primarily in the bedrock, the system does intercept groundwater above the bedrock as well.

Off-site Groundwater
An off-site groundwater investigation indicated that bedrock groundwater containing low levels of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) extends under the Barge Canal to Lyman Street. In 1996 residential basement sump water and indoor air testing was performed in the plume area. In 1996 and 1997, interim measures were completed at two houses in which basement or sump water and indoor air samples detected VOCs. A groundwater pump and treat system was proposed as an interim corrective measure and after public comments on the proposal, a revised groundwater collection and treatment system was installed and became functional in 2001.

Prior Sludge Application Area (PSAA)
In October of 1997 a final corrective measure was implemented for the on-site area. This measure included excavation and off-site disposal in a regulated waste disposal facility of approximately 600 cubic yards of soils containing elevated concentrations of nickel and/or chromium. Although the site is in industrial use, GE proposed and implemented a remedy considered protective under a residential use exposure scenario. The remedy included re-grading and covering the consolidated materials with clean fill and/or topsoil. Vegetative cover was also established. The NYS Department of Environmental Conservation accepted certification for this measure on July 8, 1998.

Outside Container Storage Area / Degreaser Areas (OCSA/DAs)
Low levels of VOCs present in the groundwater above the bedrock infiltrated the storm sewer line that ran through the OCSA and drained the adjacent parking lot. In October of 1997 an interim corrective measure was completed for this area. This action removed and replaced approximately 350 feet of the storm sewer. Subsequent sampling has demonstrated that this measure is effective in reducing the VOC loadings to the sewer that is associated with the infiltration of contaminated groundwater. By 2014, loadings have decreased and are considered inconsequential. However, additional actions were taken (many manholes and sewer structures on the site were replaced during the related PCB cleanup actions) that furthered reduced the infiltration of contaminated groundwater into the sewer system.

On-site and Off-site Soils
Sediment sampling conducted during an assessment related to the storm sewer system identified the presence of elevated levels of PCBs at the site. Interim corrective measures have been completed on-site, removing debris and sediment from the sewer and also excavating contaminated surface soils. Effectiveness monitoring and period vacuuming of the sediment trap and elected manholes is ongoing. Testing and clean-out of the sediment trap is on-going, currently at a semi-annual frequency. Last sampled April 23, 2014. Total PCBs were 1.04 ppm for that event.

In addition, an extensive sampling program was conducted along the storm water drainage way downstream of the facility. Testing showed elevated PCB concentrations in the sediments and soils along the drainage way. Soils and sediments along the drain Agway with PCB concentrations greater than 1 ppm were excavated and disposed of at permitted disposal sites. Sediment and debris within the storm sewer piping in the off-site area was also cleaned out and disposed at permitted disposal facilities.

These cleanup actions were conducted under an interim measures implementation plan (ICMI) plan reviewed in conjunction with the New York State Department of Health (NYSDOH) and approved by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (NYSDEC), and was completed during 2002. During 2003 soil and sediment with PCB levels greater than 1 ppm were removed from a non-residential area, located farther downstream on the same drainage way. This work was also conducted under an interim measures implementation plan (ICMI) plan approved by the NYSDEC.

During 2003, elevated PCB concentrations in the tar coating on the inside of the off-site storm sewer system were investigated. The tar is generally not accessible because it is attached to the inside of the pipe. GE/Black and Decker implemented an interim action plan to remove delaminating tar from the inside of the pipe. The latter work was completed in September 2003. GE/Black and Decker have also agreed to remove or clean affected storm sewer pipe that is tar coated. This sewer replacement work was completed in 2004.

In October 2001, the New York State Department of Health (NYSDOH) offered free blood serum PCB testing to current and former residents of the eight homes adjacent to Segments # 1 and 2 of Tributary No. 3 in Brockport. It is reasonable to believe that residents of these homes would have had a greater likelihood of repeated exposure to the tributary PCBs. The results of this sampling program indicate that people living in homes adjacent to the PCB-contaminated Tributary No. 3 in Brockport do not have levels of PCBs in their blood that are above those found in the general population.

Based on the results of this study, additional blood serum PCB sampling in the Brockport community was not recommended. This investigation reported on individuals who, based on currently available environmental sampling data, live in the area with the greatest potential for exposure to PCBs in and along Tributary No. 3. The findings indicate that these individuals had levels of PCBs in their blood typical of the general population. This testing was conducted prior to any cleanup of the drainage way, when concentrations of PCBs far above 1 ppm were present in potentially accessible soils. Now that the soils have been remediated to PCB levels less than 1 ppm, under a plan reviewed and approved by the NYSDOH and NYSDEC, existing conditions are considered protective.

There are no outstanding issues with respect to surficial or accessible soils. However, there is PCB containing electrical equipment present at the site that would be removed under the consent order currently under negotiation. DEC hired a spill response contractor to remove the PCB oil from some of this equipment in 2010, to reduce the potential for a release, but the drained equipment carcasses are still on the site. 

Site Description

The facility is located at 200 State Street in Brockport, New York, on approximately 28.6 acres in a largely industrial area.  The facility is bounded to the north by State Street and the New York State Barge Canal, to the east by an Owens-Illinois facility, and to the west by an Agrilink (formerly Brockport Cold Storage) facility. Also to the west is the former 3M/Dynacolor site, an inactive hazardous waste disposal site listed on the New York State Inactive Hazardous Waste Site Registry. To the south are railroad tracks and other industrial facilities. It is about 600 feet to the nearest residence.

The General Electric Company (GE) owned and operated the facility from 1949 to 1984. Black & Decker purchased the property in 1984 and operated the facility through 1986. Both GE and Black & Decker manufactured small household electrical appliances, including mixers, electric knives, can openers, etc. The County of Monroe Industrial Development Agency (COMIDA) purchased the facility from Black & Decker in 1988 and leased the facility to Kleen-Brite Laboratories, which is using the facility for packaging various household products. JMT Properties purchased the property from COMIDA in 1993 and leases the facility to Kleen-Brite for packaging cleaning products. The facility is currently vacant.

GE and Black & Decker generated hazardous wastes from various cleaning, degreasing, electroplating and metal finishing operations. The hazardous waste units included six surface impoundments and one sludge drying bed. Closure of these units was completed in August 1987 in accordance with a New York State (NYS) approved closure plan. The facility was issued a NYS Part 373 Post-Closure Permit in 1994 for the post-closure care of these units.

Contaminants at this Facility

During the corrective action investigations, elevated levels of metals and volatile organics were discovered to have contaminated on-site soils. On-site and off-site groundwater is contaminated with volatile organics, primarily trichloroethylene and related breakdown products. The primary transport appears to have been through the bedrock, however, there is some groundwater contamination above the bedrock both on-site and off-site. In addition, polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) were found in storm sewers and in soil in locations at the site and off-site.

 A potential threat to human health from groundwater contaminated with volatile organic compounds (VOCs) migrating to indoor air via vapor was evaluated. The offsite area was reassessed this past heating season (5 houses were tested), and the results are being reviewed.  The on-site building is unoccupied and vacant. The consent order currently being negotiated includes provisions (institutional controls) related to the possibility that there could potentially be a SVI issue if the building were to be occupied. 

Drinking water is municipally supplied so there is no problem with groundwater contamination in residential water supplies. The PCBs investigation has been completed, and potentially accessible soil and sediment has been removed, eliminating concerns about direct contact or ingestion by humans.

During 2002, a biomonitoring investigation looking at possible PCB impacts in fish in Brockport Creek was completed. The data showed that fish tissue PCB levels were elevated above background concentrations at two of the sampling stations. An extended baseline biomonitoring event that included additional downstream monitoring stations was performed in 2003. This event delineated the area where fish tissue PCB levels were elevated above background concentrations. Additional actions were taken in 2003-2005 involving complete excavation of the streambed, all impacted areas along the tributary, including the removal and replacement of the storm sewer piping system. The biomonitoring has continued, with the latest sampling occurring this spring 2014.

Site Responsibility at this Facility

The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (NYSDEC) is responsible for regulatory oversight for site remediation under the RCRA corrective action program, which is being implemented through a NYS Part 373 Post-Closure Permit issued to Black & Decker (U.S.), Inc. and JMT Properties, Inc. A consent order is currently being negotiated with Stanley Black & Decker and General Electric that will replace the Post-Closure permit. We expect to have this order in place by 2015.

NYS Part 373 Post-Closure Permit for the post-closure care of six surface impoundments and one sludge drying bed became effective April 4, 1994.