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Hazardous Waste Cleanup: U.S. Army Watervliet Arsenal in Watervliet New York

On this page:

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

Cleanup Status 

In August 1990, the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (NYSDEC) and EPA issued a Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) '3008(h) Order to complete investigations of the Siberia Area (SA) and the Main Manufacturing Area (MMA) and implement any necessary Interim Corrective Measures (ICMs), Corrective Measures Studies or Corrective Measures. As a result, the investigation in the SA was completed and an ICM for the groundwater and soils there was implemented. The investigation in the MMA is complete and several ICMs for soils and groundwater have also been implemented. Final remedy selections for SA and MMA areas are expected in 2008 and 2009 respectively.

Both the Siberia Area (SA) and the Main Manufacturing Area (MMA) have completed RCRA Facility Investigation (RFI). The Corrective Measures Studies for the SA and the MMA have been done. An investigation outside of the MMA to determine if contaminated groundwater was migrating beyond the facility boundary was inconclusive.

In the SA, groundwater is controlled by a permeable reactive barrier. Draft statement of basis is expected in February 2008. In April 2004, the Army started injecting a permanaganate solution into the fractured bedrock to control groundwater contamination at the MMA. Current results show problem with clogging and alternative remedy is being planned, with natural attenuation being the preferred technology.

Evaluation of potential indoor air contamination in the MMA is ongoing. In September 2007, NYSDEC approved a work plan to assess whether soil vapor and/or indoor air quality has been impacted by the former use of chlorinated solvents in degreasing operations. After the implementation of the work plan, NYSDEC determined that the results of the assessment indicate that additional vapor intrusion investigations and/or corrective measures will likely be required at MMA.

 Site Description

This federal government-owned facility is operated by the U.S. Army and lays djacent to the Hudson River. The arsenal encompasses approximately 140 acres in the City of Watervliet, New York, approximately 3.5 miles northeast of the City of Albany boundary. Residential areas border the facility to the north and south. 

The facility has been divided into two areas for investigative and corrective action purposes:

  • the Main Manufacturing Area where manufacturing and administrative operations occur, and
  • the Siberia Area, utilized for storage of raw and hazardous materials.

The facility has produced armaments since its establishment in 1813. The facility currently has interim status under the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) program.

Contaminants at this Facility

The primary hazardous wastes currently generated at this facility are from electroplating operations. Past activities generated spent chlorinated solvents, asbestos, mercury containing waste, soluble oils, pesticides, cleaning solutions and acid laboratory wastes. Operations at the facility have contaminated both soil and groundwater. Metals, polyaromatic hydrocarbons, petroleum oils and volatile organic compounds have been detected in both media. 

Responsibility at this Facility

The Army signed a joint Order on Consent with EPA and New York State Department of Environmental Conservation Docket No. II RCRA-3008(h)-93-0210 in 1990. Corrective action at the site is proceeding under an Order on Consent.