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Hazardous Waste Cleanup: Sabic Innovative Plastics US, LLC in Selkirk, New York

On this page:

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

Cleanup Status 

The Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) landfill was capped and closed. As part of this closure, the following engineering controls were applied:

  • Two upgradient interceptor trenches to reduce the amount of leachate and to lower the ground water elevation within the landfill cells.
  • A leachate/ground water interceptor trench is currently operating to collect contaminated ground water at the containment breach. Low levels of contamination have been detected.
  • A ground water monitoring network is in place to determine whether contaminated ground water has migrated from the Landfill and to determine if there is a potential surface water pathway for exposure to Landfill constituents. Ground water is sampled on a quarterly basis.
  • A naturally-occurring biodegradation and attenuation is taking place to reduce the concentration of residual chemicals in the ground water to below NYS ground water quality standards. 
  • All the abandoned drums were excavated in the Field Valley Area and disposed of off-site in a permitted Landfill. The source of the Resin Area, a leaking Toluene Tank, was repaired and contaminated soil was removed. Oxygen-releasing compounds were injected into this area to enhance the biodegradation of toluene in 2002 and since November 2005, several bacterial nutrients have been injected into the impacted area.
  • The impacted portion of the Resin Area is fenced. The contaminated ground water is isolated at 6 feet below the surface under thick clay that constitutes the Lake Albany Clay geologic formation. There is a health and safety plan in place.   
  • The A/P Hot Oil Furnace is closed on May 30, 2006. 

Site Description

The ownership of the facility was transferred from General Electric to Sabic Innovative Plastics in May 2007. The facility is located on Noryl Avenue in the town of Selkirk. The facility is approximately six miles from the Hudson River.

The 700-acre facility is currently operating and has supported its manufacturing operations since 1967. Thermoplastic molding material (plastic pellets), which has a wide variety of applications in the automotive, electronic, and building industries, is the facility’s main manufacturing product. The majority of hazardous wastes produced at the site have been generated from or comes from three sources:

  • The manufacturing of thermoplastics which generates hazardous wastes such as Parkson Distillation bottoms and other residues,
  • A landfill which generates leachates, and
  • Waste and Oil Solvents produced from the powder blends in the on-site extruders and from the maintenance of the equipment.

Parkson Distillation bottoms and additional residues are no longer burned in the A/P Hot Oil Furnace, but are rather accumulated and sent off-site for disposal. Presently, the A/P Hot Oil furnace only burns solid waste. The released energy is recovered to heat Exxon Caloria HT 43 oil which, in turn, is used to heat the process reactors. Hazardous wastes generated from the other two sources are collected in containers or tanks and sent off-site for treatment and disposal.

Five (5) Solid Waste Management Units (SWMUs) and one Area of Concern (AOC) were subject to RCRA corrective action. At this time, cleanup is complete at the Landfill, Sludge Drying Beds, Filled Valley Area (which included the excavation of 55 drums), A/P Xylenol Tank MF-2201 and AOC Spill Area. All of the SWMUs require continued ground water monitoring. One SWMU, the Resins Area, has undergone an enhanced monitoring natural attenuation process since March 2002, which includes the injection of Permeox, an oxygen-releasing compound. Bacteria nutrients and electron receptors conducted on a laboratory-experimental basis were also injected as part of an approved Corrected Measures Study (CMS). The injection of Permeox has reduced the maximum concentration of toluene, which is close to the source, in half to approximately 100,000 ppb.  Currently, hazardous wastes generated at the site are collected in containers or tanks and sent off-site for treatment and disposal. 

Contaminants at this Facility

The permitted inactive RCRA landfill had breaches in the past, and as a result, on-site soil and ground water were impacted with hazardous waste contaminants, mainly volatile organic compounds (VOCs). The landfill was capped and closed, including the installation of interceptor trenches which significantly reduced the amount of leachate into the surrounding environment. Although all impacted soils were excavated and disposed of off-site, low levels of VOC contamination are still present in the ground water on-site. A ground water monitoring network is in place and sampling results show that there is no evidence that ground water has migrated off-site or that there is a significant impact to the surface water. A naturally-occurring biodegradation and attenuation is taking place to, over time, reduce the concentration of residual chemicals in the ground water below New York State ground water quality standards.    
Another area of concern addressed by RCRA remediation was the Resin Area where a leaking Toluene Tank was discovered in 2001. From 2002 to 2004, oxygen-releasing compounds were injected in this area to enhance the biodegradation of toluene. From November 2005 to 2007 several bacterial nutrients were injected into the impacted area. There are six ground water monitoring wells in the Resin Area.

Site Responsibility at this Facility

Under a NYS Part 373 permit issued on June 29, 2004, General Electric, the former owner of the facility, is the party that is responsible for the cleanup. This permit authorizes the storage of hazardous wastes in containers and tanks for 90 days, starting on the date on which the wastes were generated.   Additionally, the permit requires post-closure activities and long-term ground water monitoring at the on-site closed landfill located in the northwest perimeter of the site. This inactive landfill had breaches in the past and as a result, on-site soil and ground water were contaminated with volatile organic compounds (VOCs). The facility has not incinerated hazardous wastes in an industrial boiler, also known as an A/P Hot Oil Furnace, since May 2006, however, it still continues to burn solid waste.   

The inactive on-site landfill described above was capped and closed and an interceptor trench was built. The permit requires a demonstration that the interceptor trench is maintaining containment and that ground water concentrations of landfill-related constituents are not increasing at landfill perimeter ground water monitoring well locations over time. In addition, the permit calls for a monitored natural attenuation and institutional controls of ground water contamination (toluene and methanol) at the Resins Area.
A ground water monitoring network is currently in place and sampling results show that there is no evidence of ground water migration off-site or that there is a significant impact to the surface water.  The concentration of residual chemicals in the ground water is being reduced through naturally-occurring biodegradation and attenuation. Over time, it is expected that the concentrations of the residual chemicals will move below the state of New York’s ground water quality standards.