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Hazardous Waste Cleanup: Revere Smelting and Refining Corporation in Middletown, New York

On this page:

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

Cleanup Status 

The cleanup of the site is being conducted at four areas, designated as Operable Units (OU). OU-1 consists of the 61 acre site, excluding the active facility, as well as several off-site properties where impacts from the site have been documented. OU-2 is all groundwater in the area of OUs 1, 3 and 4. OU-3 consists of other off-site property where impacts from the site have been documented. OU-4 is the area defined as the active facility.

The February 2011 Order on Consent required the cleanup for OU-1 and governed the investigation and cleanup at OU-2, OU-3 and OU-4. The Order on Consent also required the removal of the old floor system from inside the Containment Building, installation of a new floor liner system, construction of a trailer storage facility, and development of a spill response protocol.

NYSDEC issued a Record of Decision for OU-1 in September 2011 that called for the excavation and treatment of contaminated soil, sediment, and waste; and placement of the treated material in a containment cell. An environmental easement will restrict areas of the site to industrial or commercial use.

The cleanup for OU-1 is ongoing. The bottom liner of a containment cell has been constructed to the northeast of the active facility. Source material from the Eastern Fill Area directly east of the active facility has been excavated, treated, and placed in the containment cell. The cleanup plan for the ecological areas of OU-1 includes excavation, treatment, and containment of contaminated sediments. Hydraulic control of the containment cell is being maintained on an ongoing basis as cleanup operations continue.

The OU-2 groundwater is monitored quarterly. Sampling from some wells of the program to the south of the active facility may be temporarily suspended due to excavation in that area of the site, but will resume following the completion of the remedy for OU-1.

Sampling is being implemented at OU-3 in the Unnamed Tributary, west of Ballard Road, to the Walkill River. Upon completion of the latest investigation, the OU will be evaluated for cleanup options.

The investigation of environmental impacts was completed at OU-4. An evaluation of alternative cleanup measures is underway and the final cleanup action may include the removal of some buildings and the excavation and treatment or removal of contaminated soils. An interim cleanup action is proposed to maintain cover over exposed contaminated areas; and construction of a slurry wall was completed around the main plant to divert groundwater flow that would otherwise contact the highly leachable lead-contaminated soil under the plant building.

The Containment Building floor liner system was installed, a new trailer storage facility was constructed with a roof and drainage system, a spill response protocol was developed, and a hazardous waste management plan is in place. 

Site Description

Revere Smelting and Refining Corporation operates a secondary lead smelter at 65 Ballard Road in Middletown, New York. The site is located in a rural area of southeastern New York and consists of approximately 61 acre of land, one third of which is used for plant operations. The remainder consists mainly of undeveloped property containing overgrown fields, mature woodlands, wetlands, and a small pond.

Used batteries, which are a Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) hazardous waste, are transported to Revere for storage and dismantling. Dismembered battery materials along with other waste material containing lead from battery manufacturing, are stored in piles onsite in a RCRA-permitted containment building. All lead-bearing materials are sent to the onsite high temperature smelter for refining.

During the late 1970's and early 1980's, large quantities of fill material containing lead slag, battery parts and other waste was buried at the site. Part of the lead-contaminated fill area was first paved over with concrete and served as a storage area for used batteries, wastewater treatment units, and piles of secondary waste materials from the demolition of batteries.

Subsequently, a containment building was constructed over the concrete area, to house the piles of secondary waste materials and used batteries. The surface layer of soil extending beyond the fill areas was also contaminated with windblown lead particles from the open storage yard, and from smelter stack emissions. Contaminated fill material was found to a depth of 20 feet below grade. Surficial contamination extended from a few inches to two feet below grade.

Contaminants at this Facility

Lead was the primary contaminant detected in the soils, fill material, sediment, surface water, and groundwater. Other contaminants found at lower concentrations are arsenic, antimony, cadmium, and chromium. 

The highest total lead concentrations have consistently been encountered in the deeper fill material, which exhibit the hazardous waste toxicity characteristic for lead. Groundwater samples collected in the fill area show the most significant heavy metals contamination.

Areas of contamination are not accessible to either workers or trespassers, as they are either underneath the buildings, covered with asphalt, or protected by fencing.  Field investigations and cleanup work are implemented under an appropriate health and safety plan to protect construction personnel and facility workers. The area is served by a public water supply that is not affected by the contamination. 

Site Responsibility at this Facility

The New York State 6NYCRR Part 373 Hazardous Waste Management Permit addresses the storage and management of hazardous waste in a container storage area and in a containment building; and the implementation of cleanup measures.

There have also been several Orders on Consent with NYSDEC, issued between 1997 and 2011, requiring investigation and cleanup of the site. The February 2011 Order on Consent superseded all previous Orders and incorporated the cleanup requirements of the permit.   

The Hazardous Waste Management Permit expired in 2005, but has been extended and is still in effect. The Permit renewal process is underway and was contingent on the installation and testing of a new Containment Building floor liner system. The previous pan floor system was removed and a new secondary containment floor liner system was installed in 2012. An evaluation was conducted to ensure that the system is functioning properly and it will be incorporated into a modified permit.