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Hazardous Waste Cleanup: Textron Realty Operations Incorporated in Wheatfield, New York

On this page:

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

Cleanup Status 

To address the existing contamination and remediate the areas impacted by the contamination, the facility has installed an off-site and an on-site groundwater extraction system. Performance monitoring data indicate that those remedial systems are achieving their design objectives, which are to control the further migration of contaminated groundwater, remove contamination from the groundwater and eventually attain the New York State groundwater standards.

The source of the contamination has been removed, and the extent of the contaminant plume has diminished. The facility wrote a corrective measures study (CMS), which was approved in June 1991. The CMS included a baseline risk assessment, which concluded that the greatest risk of exposure was from the upper bedrock, or Zone 1, groundwater downgradient from the facility, if extracted for domestic purposes.

The upper bedrock zone is the most contaminated portion of the site, however, the contaminated groundwater is not used as a source for the surrounding community's drinking water. Therefore, the objective of corrective measures is to mitigate the dissolved phase plume in Zone 1. However, to effectively mitigate the dissolved phase plume, the source of the plume (the DNAPL plume) would need to be removed or contained.

Due to the physical characteristics of the dense nonaqueous phase liquid (DNAPL), remediation by pumping or other extraction methods is not technically feasible. The effective alternative is to control the dissolution of the DNAPL by hydraulically or physically containing it. By hydraulically containing the DNAPL, risks of further off-site migration of the source of the dissolved phase contamination are being eliminated.

The operation of the off-site and on-site groundwater extraction systems started in 1993 and 1995 respectively. The off-site system currently consists of four extraction wells. Each extraction well is connected by an underground pipeline that discharges extracted groundwater to a sanitary sewer inlet for treatment at the Niagara County Sewer District treatment plant. The off-site system is currently achieving its design goal of maintaining a groundwater capture zone that extends to the limits of the dissolved phase plume.

The on-site system consists of six groundwater extraction wells. It is also meeting its design objectives, which are to control off-site migration of contaminated groundwater and eventually attain the New York State groundwater standards. Each on-site extraction well is connected to an underground pipeline that discharges to an on-site treatment plant. The results indicate that, in general, contaminant concentrations detected in groundwater samples from both the on-site and off-site Zone 1 monitoring wells are gradually declining, as anticipated. A reduction in contaminant concentration has been noted in samples from the on-site overburden wells. Also, as indicated before, there are no on-site or off-site indoor air impacts.

 Site Description

This facility is located at 2221 Niagara Falls Boulevard, at the western end of the Town of Wheatfield, New York. The plant is approximately two miles north of the Niagara River and about three miles east of US Interstate 190. This former aerospace-defense company conducted research and development, testing, and manufacturing of hardware and navigational and guidance systems.

The facility's surface impoundment, or neutralization pond, is the only Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA)-regulated unit at the facility, subject to both RCRA post-closure requirements and corrective action. No other RCRA-regulated units were found to be significantly contaminated at the site. The surface impoundment was used to collect wash water from rocket engine test firings from 1940 to approximately 1984. It also received storm run-off and cooling water for more than 30 years, and for a limited period, coal gasification wastes. The surface impoundment is a rectangular basin, measuring 60 feet by 100 feet by 10 feet, which closed in 1988.

Contaminants at this Facility

The Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) Facility Investigation (RFI) concluded that hazardous waste constituents from the surface impoundment have been released to the soil and groundwater beneath the facility. The hazardous waste constituents, primarily volatile organic compounds (VOCs) are present in the groundwater as aqueous (dissolved) phase contaminant plumes and as a plum of dense nonaqueous phase liquid (DNAPL), which is a liquid that is heavier than water and does not readily dissolve. Aqueous phase contamination (up to 100,000 part per million VOCs) has been found in the soils, in the unconsolidated sediments above the bedrock (the overburden) and in the bedrock.

The extent of the nonaqueous phase plume in the overburden appears to be limited to the facility property. The extent of the aqueous phase bedrock plume is considerably greater. Contamination of the upper bedrock zone (Zone 1) extends as a pear-shaped lobe from the surface impoundment to approximately five thousand feet southeast of the surface impoundment. The plume travels in the upper bedrock aquifer, beneath residential and commercial areas, posing a potential for volatile vapors to migrate from the plume into buildings.

On-site, the facility conducted volatile organic compounds (VOCs) analysis of air samples in March 2000. The readings were significantly below the limits allowed by the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration.

The surface impoundment was dewatered in 1984, then sludge and soils were removed in 1987, and the unit was closed in 1988 by placement of a low permeability clay cap. All contaminated soil found in the surface impoundment was removed and sent off-site to a permitted landfill. 

Responsibility at this Facility

The surface impoundment is currently regulated as a hazardous waste disposal unit under a New York State Part 373 post closure permit.

The RCRA post-closure permit was initially issued on September 9, 1992 and renewed on September 24, 1998. Module III (Corrective Action) of this permit was amended on September 2, 2002. The current permit expired on September 24, 2003 but still in force until permit renewal will be issued.