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Hazardous Waste Cleanup: Duracell Lithium Systems Division, in Sleepy Hollow, New York

On this page:

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

Cleanup Status 

The former Duracell manufacturing facility ceased operations in 1984.  The facility was decontaminated, demolished, hazardous waste storage facility closed, and all hazardous wastes and debris were taken off site for proper disposal in 1988 and 1989.  A remedial program was implemented from 1990 to 1993 to address the contamination in the on-site soils, the former Duracell parking lot located west of the former plant site across Andrews Lane, and in soils on eight residential properties adjacent to the site. Approximately 4,300 cubic yards of contaminated soils were removed from these areas. 

A sampling program was carried out by NYSDEC in May 2009 to assess the levels of lead and mercury in exposed soils on thirty-nine properties surrounding the former Duracell plant. In 2010, Gillette conducted a Phase I investigation and collected and analyzed of over 1,600 soil samples from 146 properties in the vicinity of the site. Information gathered during the investigation indicates that historic fill material was placed in the area prior to the existence of the former battery plant. Based on the pattern of the lead distribution in the area soil, the NYSDEC determined that lead present in the area can be attributable to sources other than the former battery manufacturing operations.

Approximately 80 properties were identified as requiring soil cleanup for mercury. Cleanup of the properties were initiated by Gillette in 2012 as Interim Remedial Measures (IRM) in accordance with an NYSDEC-approved IRM Work Plan.  Additional plans, including a Health and Safety Plan, Storm Water Pollution Prevention Plan, Community Air Monitoring Plan, and Transportation Plan have also been approved by NYSDEC.

The cleanup consists primarily of the removal of surface soils (approximately 0 to 3 feet below ground surface) to the extent feasible on properties where mercury levels exceed the cleanup level, backfill with clean soil, and restore the property to its original condition. 

In 2013, Gillette conducted an investigation of 11 additional properties as part of the second phase of the investigation.  The sample results identified three additional properties requiring cleanup.

As of August 2015, approximately 70 properties have been cleaned up, with another 10 to 15 properties still requiring cleanup. Indoor dust sampling is planned to be conducted at a representative number of properties following the IRM. Additional soil sampling is also planned around the periphery of the former plant property.

Site Description

The Duracell site is approximately 1.64 acres in size and is located at the intersection of Elm Street and Andrews Lane in the Village of Sleepy Hollow, Westchester County, New York. The Duracell facility encompassed the former plant property located on the southeast corner of Elm Street and Andrews Lane, at 60 Elm Street, and two former employee parking lots located north and west of the former plant across Elm Street and Andrews Lane.

The surrounding properties are predominantly residential. The former GM-Tarrytown site and associated parking areas are located approximately 900 feet west and 500 feet north of the site, respectively.

Between 1944 and 1984, a battery manufacturing facility operated at the site.  The facility was originally operated by Mallory Battery Company.  Duracell began operations at the site in 1979 and the facility was closed in 1984. The former plant property located at 60 Elm Street is now a paved Village parking lot. The Village of Sleepy Hollow is the current owner of the property. 

Contaminants at this Facility

Historical deposition of airborne discharges containing mercury from past site operations, between approximately 1940 and 1970, represents a potential threat from contaminated soil on off-site properties in areas not covered with grass or pavement. Contact with contaminated soils on-site is prevented by a pavement cap which covers the entire site. Groundwater sampling conducted at the former plant site in 2015 identified metals and volatile organic compounds. Drinking of the groundwater is not expected as the surrounding community is serviced by municipal water.   

Site Responsibility at this Facility

The findings of an environmental investigation completed in 1989 led Duracell into entering a Consent Order with the NYSDEC for further assessment and cleanup. A remedial program was performed by Duracell under the NYSDEC State Superfund Program. The Duracell facility was previously listed on the NYSDEC Registry of Inactive Hazardous Waste Disposal Sites; however, the site was delisted in 1994 following a remedial program implemented at that time.  Based on the results of an assessment performed by the NYSDEC in May 2009, a Consent Order was entered into by The Gillette Company (successor to Duracell) with the NYSDEC in December 2009 to investigate and implement any necessary remedial actions, both on and off-site.  The former plant property was placed back on the NYSDEC Registry of Inactive Hazardous Waste Disposal Sites in February 2010.  The remedial program is being performed by The Gillette Company under the NYSDEC State Superfund Program.