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Hazardous Waste Cleanup: Von Roll Isola USA Incorporated in Schenectady, New York

On this page:

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

Cleanup Status 

The technical work plan for a RCRA Investigation/Feasibility Study at the site was approved by New York State Department of Environmental Conservation on May 7, 2001. The scope of work for this investigation was intended to address inactive hazardous waste disposal concerns, as well as resolve outstanding Resource Conservation and Recovery Act issues.

The work plan was incorporated into the new Consent Order signed with the NYSDEC in June 2001. Field work began in September 2001 and included monitoring well and soil boring installation, and soil and groundwater sampling. Results of this initial investigation revealed that additional investigations are warranted to delineate soil contamination at depth.  
General Electric has conducted several investigations of groundwater and soil. The investigations included an assessment of the vapor intrusion potential relating to on-site occupied buildings associated with groundwater contamination. Completion of the Remedial Investigation along with selection of remedy is planned by December of 2014 and the Record of Decision (ROD) was completed in March 2013. The selected remedy for the groundwater is In Situ Chemical Oxidation (ISCO), which will be implemented by 2016.

A positive Environmental Indicator, Current Human Exposures Under Control, was achieved on September 29, 2005. Soil contaminants are largely associated with subsurface soils, at depths greater than two feet, and in many cases up to 60 feet below the ground surface. There are no open or active burial areas. Protection from exposure to soils is provided by established vegetation or asphalt/concrete structures. 

The site is closed and protected. Trespassing is controlled through site access security measures in the active portion of the facility (perimeter security fencing, guard stations), and a combination of routine surveillance/patrolling measures and topographic/natural barriers in the remainder of the site. Employees and contractors are further protected from exposure to soil contaminants through the use of operational controls that require Environment, Health and Safety personnel review and approval, prior to commencing any soil disturbance activities. A Soil Vapor Intrusion/Indoor Air evaluation was completed on November 10, 2011, and the result was “no further sampling for soil and groundwater is necessary at this site regarding soil vapor.”

A positive Environmental Indicator, Migration of Contaminated Groundwater under Control, was achieved in September 2006. Data to date does not indicate an off-site migration component. Groundwater at the facility is not in direct hydraulic connection with aquifers to the north that are used for drinking water. An extensive low permeability geologic unit underlies the site at a depth of 95 feet, below the level of significant contamination detected. Groundwater contamination is primarily confined to a deep petroleum spill located adjacent to the main manufacturing building and deep soil contamination in the area of the site tank farm.

Intensive groundwater investigations, conducted at an adjacent and immediately downgradient industrial facility since 1995, do not indicate upgradient or off-site sources of contamination. There is no on-site groundwater usage, and there are no identified targets or receptors located downgradient of the facility. Local residents are served by a municipal water supply system. The closest well used for drinking water purposes is located more than 3,500 feet downgradient from the site. A municipal water system provides potable water and production to the site.

 Site Description

The Riverview facility is a 52-acre manufacturing facility located on Von Roll Drive in Schenectady, New York. The facility is owned and operated by Von Roll Isola USA, Inc., and produces solid and liquid insulating materials and tapes for the electrical industry. The General Electric Company (GE) purchased the property in 1942. From 1942 to 1959, GE used the site as a radar development facility.

The site was used for radar development until approximately 1960 when the Insulating Materials group was moved from the General Electric (GE) Main Plant site to Riverview. In March 1988, GE sold the plant to Insulating Materials Incorporated (IMI). IMI produced electrical insulation products similar to that of the previous GE operation. The facility was sold to Von Roll Isola, Inc. in 1995.

The site is listed on the New York State Registry of Inactive Hazardous Waste Disposal Sites as Site Number 447005, classification 2.

Contaminants at this Facility

The site contains numerous solid waste management units and former hazardous waste storage and disposal areas. The facility converted to a less than 90-day storage facility in 1994.

Numerous spills have occurred at the plant and in conjunction with plant operations, have resulted in several areas of soil and groundwater contamination. Some areas have been closed under the RCRA corrective action program, others remain to be fully investigated and remediated under the New York State Inactive Hazardous Waste Remediation program. Historical sampling of groundwater, soils, and seep outbreaks at the site have indicated the presence of organic solvents, metals, petroleum products and traces of polychlorinated biphenyls in groundwater beneath the site.

Responsibility at this Facility

The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (NYSDEC) Part 373 Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) permit was issued to the facility on September 28, 1993 and regulated the hazardous waste container storage area. A consent order to perform the remedial investigation was issued in 2001, and another consent order to address the remedial measures was issued in December 2013. These two orders replace the Part 373 RCRA permit.

General Electric and the NYSDEC signed a Consent Order in March of 1992 for a Field Investigation. The results of that limited investigation completed in 1993, revealed groundwater and soil contamination from various site operations.

General Electric and the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation entered into an Order on Consent for a Remedial Investigation and Feasibility Study on June 6, 2001.