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Hazardous Waste Cleanup: CECOS International Incorporated in Niagara Falls, New York

On this page:

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

Cleanup Status                         

Because of the long-term potential for off-site migration, the contaminated groundwater is the principle threat to human health and the environment at the CECOS facility. The remedy focuses on the recovery of contaminated groundwater in the central area of the CECOS facility, maintenance of existing infiltration controls (caps and pavement) and the monitoring of the groundwater migrating off-site. The cleanup objectives are to prevent human exposure to contaminated groundwater and soils by treating and/or containing contaminants, to reduce the migration of contaminants from soil to groundwater, and to reduce the migration of contaminants through the groundwater.

It should also be noted that ongoing development of sanitary landfill cells at this site is essentially a "brownfields" re-use of areas of the site. This re-use also serves to place cover (both bottom and top liners) that stops surface water infiltration and thus serves to reduce the volume of contaminated groundwater that is generated. This, in turn, reduces the overall threat of contaminated groundwater leaving the site.

With the implementation of the interim measures, contaminated soils have been excavated and the Phase I impoundments were closed, graded and capped. Since 1991 CECOS has recovered and treated more than 65 million gallons of groundwater as part of the corrective action. Total concentrations of contaminants within the plume of groundwater have been greatly reduced.

Site Description

CECOS International, Inc. is located on a 385-acre tract in an industrial-commercial area of Niagara County. The majority of the site is in the town of Niagara; however, a portion of the site is in Niagara Falls. The facility contains a variety of waste operations, including an operating sanitary landfill, 10 closed landfills, a wastewater treatment facility and a container storage facility. The site was first used for waste disposal in 1897 and has been used for hazardous waste treatment storage and disposal since 1977.

Contaminants at this Facility

As required by New York State Department of Environmental Conservation 6 NYCRR Part 373-2 and United States Environmental Protection Agency Hazardous and Solid Waste Amendments of 1984 permits, CECOS has investigated 47 Solid Waste Management Units (SWMU's) and site-wide Areas of Concern (AOC) at the CECOS facility. Based upon the investigations, it was determined that hazardous waste constituents had been released to the fill/soil and groundwater beneath the facility. A Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) Facility Investigation (RFI) has been conducted and a final corrective action of groundwater recovery was approved in February 1995.

The most significant area of contamination attributable to CECOS's operations is located in the central area of the facility. Evaluation of possible sources indicated that the former Phase I Wastewater Treatment Impoundments were the principle source of the contamination. Other inactive sources in the central area have also released hazardous waste constituents to the groundwater. None of the observed contamination has been attributed to CECOS's five hazardous waste landfills that were formerly operated at the site.

CECOS implemented interim corrective measures at locations where significant soil or groundwater contamination were found. The purpose of the interim measures has been to minimize the spread of the contamination and, ultimately, to improve groundwater quality in the affected areas.

The most significant source of groundwater contamination in the area of the facility is the adjacent 24-acre unlined dump site known as NECCO (Niagara Electrochemical Company) Park. This dump site, which is being addressed by EPA's Superfund program, is located adjacent to the southwest quadrant of the CECOS facility and is bordered on three sides by CECOS.

NECCO Park is owned and operated by E.I. DuPont de Nemours and Company, Inc. and was previously used for the disposal of thousands of tons of industrial and hazardous wastes. Studies of the NECCO Park site indicate that the vast majority of the contamination that has been found in the vicinity of CECOS is attributable to releases from the NECCO Park dump site. DuPont has voluntarily implemented an interim groundwater remedial program to partially mitigate the environmental impacts associated with NECCO Park. Additional remedial activities are planned for the facility.

Site Responsibility at this Facility

The facility currently has a 6 NYCRR Part 373 operating and post-closure permit issued by New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (NYSDEC).

This RCRA permit was issued to CECOS with the effective date November 4, 2009 and the expiration date of November 2014. The RCRA permit for CECOS allows it to continue existing monitoring and maintenance of closed hazardous waste units, and to continue final corrective action remedies which address site-wide soil and groundwater contamination at the facility. The permit renewal addresses the continuing implementation of corrective action associated with past waste management activities such as:

  • Post -closure maintenance of closed hazardous waste landfills;
  • Continued implementation of the final corrective action remedies for site-wide contamination; and
  • Perpetual care for closed hazardous waste landfills and corrective action systems.