An official website of the United States government.

This is not the current EPA website. To navigate to the current EPA website, please go to This website is historical material reflecting the EPA website as it existed on January 19, 2021. This website is no longer updated and links to external websites and some internal pages may not work. More information »

Hazardous Waste Cleanup: Schenectady International Incorporated in Schenectady, New York

On this page:

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

Cleanup Status 

The Remedial Investigation and Feasibility Study at Schenectady International were completed in February 1997. In the interim, measures consisting of free phase floating material collection were implemented at the facility for source control. A Record of Decision (ROD) was issued in March 1998 to address the off-site contamination.

Under the ROD for off-site contamination, a Remedial Action Work Plan was submitted to implement the following components:

  • a groundwater collection and treatment system;
  • free phase floating material collection; and
  • installation of a clay liner and erosion control to prevent off-site surface water contamination.

The Work Plan was approved in September 1997. Construction of the final remedy to address the groundwater contamination has been completed. A collection trench has been installed at the facility boundary and the contaminated water is pumped to a wastewater treatment plant where it is treated and released under a New York State Pollution Discharge Elimination System permit. Contamination in the small hill is degrading to nontoxic substances under natural ground conditions, so no intervention is necessary.

Remedial Action Phase 1
The Cowhorn Creek has been protected from groundwater contamination since 2001 with the installation of groundwater extraction wells along the perimeter of the site. Daily scrutiny of the groundwater extraction system has resulted in improvements and 99.5% operation since the beginning of 2008.

Remedial Investigation Phase 2
With the completion of the Pilot Study, the facility is now ready to start the cleanup. A supplemental remedial investigation was completed in 2007 and soil excavation and/or in situ remediation begun in 2008.

Site Description

The Schenectady International, Inc. - Congress Street facility encompasses approximately 8 acres within the City of Schenectady, Schenectady County, New York. Adjacent land uses include light industrial to the south and west; commercial facilities to the east and northwest; and residential areas to the north and northeast. The facility is situated on the side of a valley which slopes down to Cowhorn Creek. An active rail line is located between the facility and the Creek. The facility has operated at this location since 1910, manufacturing primarily industrial coatings. Manufacturing operations ceased at the facility in 1998. However, the administrative offices are still used by Schenectady International.

Contaminants at this Facility

The primary hazardous wastes generated at this facility are from chemical manufacturing operations. As a result of past operations at the facility, soil, surface water, sediment and groundwater contamination has occurred. The primary contaminants are: volatile organic compounds (VOCs) which include toluene, benzenes and xylenes and; semi-volatile compounds (SVOCs) which include phenols and polyaromatic hydrocarbons. Both aqueous (dissolved phase) and non-aqueous (free-phase) contamination has been detected. There is also contaminated soil at a small hill leading into a stream just outside the fence line, but still on the facility's property.

Site Responsibility at this Facility

The Order on Consent was issued September 13, 1993.

The facility was an interim status facility in the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) program but is being cleaned up under the New York State Inactive Hazardous Waste Site (Superfund) Program.