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Hazardous Waste Cleanup: Rutherford Chemicals, LLC in Harriman, New York

On this page:

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

Cleanup Status 

The selected remedies, based on the results of a remedial investigation and feasibility study, have been implemented via a Record of Decision (ROD). The status of the selected remedies is as follows:

Drum/soil removal
As a result of Nepera's previous disposing of drums in the eastern portion of the site (known as Area F), remediation of this area involved drum and soil removal (approximately 800 cubic yards), and the treatment of residual VOC- contaminated soil with oxygen release compounds (biosparging) to reduce the concentrations to clean-up standards or below.

Excavation of sediments
The west branch of the Ramapo River goes through the section of the facility known as Area K. River sediments were found to be contaminated with polychlorinated biphenyls, or PCBs, and approximately 50 cubic yards of low concentration sediments were removed. The source of the PCBs is unknown as they were never used or found at the facility previously.

Groundwater pump-and-treat program
This is an interim remedial measure that includes three pumping wells installed in the mid-1980s. Groundwater, which is contaminated with VOCs and SVOCs, is collected, treated and discharged via a State Pollutant Discharge Elimination System permit. Concentrations of contaminants in the groundwater have been decreasing over time and the groundwater plume is being contained.

Soil vapor extraction
Soil vapor testing was conducted at the site and it was determined that the potential for indoor air vapor intrusion does not exist as most of the site is paved and no buildings are located over the groundwater plume.

An evaluation and mitigation of mercury migration into the Ramapo River
Preliminary evaluation shows that the amount of mercury discharging to the river is in the parts per trillion range, and impacts to aquatic life are either minimal or non-existent based upon a detailed analyses of fish from the river.

Long term groundwater and surface water monitoring is an ongoing activity with the monitoring wells being sampled quarterly. 

Site Description

This facility, located in Harriman, New York, on Route 17 at Arden House Road, manufactures organic and pharmaceutical intermediate chemicals, and has been in operation since the early 1950s. The principle products are pyridine, picolines and cyanopyridines. The production processes for these chemicals generate hazardous wastes, which are stored in tanks and containers and incinerated on-site. The on-site hazardous waste incinerator also burns fumes from process reactors, and recovers energy in the form of steam, for use in plant operations. A residential area is located across the street from this facility. Public access to the plant site is restricted by fencing and 24-hour security. 

Contaminants at this Facility

There is ongoing in-situ on site vacuum extraction to remove benzene, toluene, xylenes and pyridine-based compounds from the groundwater. In addition, the level of mercury migrating from groundwater into the west branch of the Ramapo River is being evaluated.

Groundwater, soils and possibly surface water have been impacted by past plant operations and drum disposal at the site. Groundwater is not used as a drinking water source by neighboring residents. Groundwater is contaminated with volatile organic compounds and semi-volatile organic compounds, and the plume has been contained on-site. Six monitoring wells, located along the river, are sampled quarterly, and the contaminants of concern are either at or below groundwater standards.

Site Responsibility at this Facility

The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (NYSDEC) Division of Environmental Remediation issued a Record of Decision (for the initiation of remedial activities) for the Nepera site in March 1997. NYSDEC is the lead agency responsible for corrective action at the site.

An Order on Consent issued by NYSDEC on March 10, 2000 requires Nepera to implement several physical modifications to its pyridine production process to reduce the likelihood of pyridine releases into the environment.

The storage of hazardous waste in containers at the site is regulated by a Part 373 NYSDEC permit issued on May 22, 1997. The permit was modified by NYSDEC (July 1999) to include the existing incineration operation, organic emissions from hazardous waste processes, equipment, tank and containers.