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Hazardous Waste Cleanup: SI Group Incorporated in Rotterdam Junction, New York

On this page:

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

Cleanup Status 

On November 8, 1989 New York State Department of Conservation (NYSDEC) issued an Order on Consent that required Schenectady International, Inc. to implement Interim Corrective Measures (ICMs) (construction of groundwater containment system) and conduct a trial burn/risk assessment for the incinerator at the facility. There were subsequent Orders on December 5, 1991 and on September 13, 1993.

The 1991 Order revised the compliance schedules from the previous Order and required Schenectady International to:

  • perform an Environmental Compliance Audit;
  • implement an Environmental Improvement Program;
  • develop and implement a Soils Management Protocol;
  • adhere to a Compliance Schedule addressing management of hazardous wastes at its facility; implement Best Management Practices, Storm Water Management and Spill Prevention Plans; and
  • perform the tasks specified in the previous Order.

The 1993 and 1997 Orders modified the compliance schedule for the Schenectady International facility. The facility's Permit also specifies the cleanup requirements for the facility which include:

  • performance of an investigation,
  • Corrective Measures Study (CMS), and

Implementation of Corrective Measure (CMI) through modification of the existing Permit.

A Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) Facility Investigation (RFI) Report for the West Side area has been submitted and approved. The RFI for the East Side area is currently under development.

Interim Corrective Measures to address groundwater contamination for both the East and West Side areas of the facility have been implemented. A slurry wall was constructed for the East Side, where most of the contamination can be found. On the West Side there is a quarterly monitoring program which began in January 1997. It consists of both chemical and hydraulic monitoring and includes 24 monitoring wells spread along the west, south and north of the facility's West Side area. The well samples are analyzed for Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs), Semi-volatile Organic Compounds (SVOCs) and PCBs.

An Investigation is currently being performed to address the remaining soil contamination at the facility.

Interim Corrective Measures - East Side Area
A slurry wall has prevented groundwater contamination from reaching the Mohawk River since 1993. In 2007 the extra scrutiny given to the pumping well performance and subsequent improvement in maintenance has resulted in lower groundwater levels inside the slurry wall. Low groundwater levels extend the life of the slurry wall by creating an inward gradient that in turn slows down the penetration of contaminants through the barrier. An RFI is scheduled for 2009.

Corrective Measures - West Side Area
An RFI was completed but an additional contaminated area was discovered and removed in 2007. The soils that could not be removed are currently being investigated and will be remediated using an in-situ method based on the results of the Building 10 Pilot Study. The Corrective Measures Study may need to be revised. A Final Corrective Measure work plan for the entire West Side will be submitted in 2008.

Pilot Study Building 10
A comparison of two in-situ methods of remediation was completed in March 2007. The study compared a new "Heat Trode" technology to a tried-and-true vapor extraction technology. The results were excellent with both methods meeting almost all of NYSDEC target levels. The study not only evaluated which methods will be used to clean up the SI Group sites but showcased and improved both technologies for use on other sites.

Site Description

SI Group, Inc., formerly Schenectady International, Inc., Rotterdam Junction facility encompasses approximately 60 acres in Lower Rotterdam Junction, Schenectady County, New York. The facility is situated on the southwest bank of the Mohawk River, north of the B&M railway line and east of Highway 5S. The facility has operated at this location since 1951, producing primarily formaldehyde resins and alkyl phenols. The closest residential areas are located approximately 500 feet south of the facility. Several municipal well fields have been identified within the general vicinity.

The facility has been divided into two areas for investigative and corrective action purposes based on the groundwater divide:

  • the East Side, where the majority of manufacturing and water treatment and;
  • the West Side which is primarily administrative and warehousing.

There are 48 solid waste management units and 11 areas of concern.

Contaminants at this Facility

The primary hazardous wastes generated at this facility are from chemical manufacturing operations. They include Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) such as benzene, ethylbenzene, xylene and toluene as well as Semi-volatile Organic Compounds (SVOCs) such as Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbon (PAH) and phenols. There is also some PCB contamination in soils. However, most of the facility is paved and there is a health and safety plan in place to deal with any potential contact with on-site soil and groundwater.

Currently, hazardous wastes generated at the facility are 100% recycled. The incinerator at the facility has been shut down as of December 31, 2001 and the closure plan is currently under review by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (NYSDEC). Contaminated groundwater has not reached residences near the facility and there are no private wells in the area. The situation is periodically monitored and there is a groundwater response plan that is triggered if this situation changes.

Site Responsibility at this Facility

The Order on Consent was issued September 13, 1993 and replaced in February 1997. A New York State 373 Permit was issued March 27, 1998 and renewed in 2003. The permit allowed for the storage of hazardous waste in containers and tanks, and the incineration of hazardous waste at the facility. The incinerator and storage areas are now closed and only the Corrective Action Module is in effect.