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EPA says Cairo Superfund site still toxic

Dec 14, 2023 12:51 am

Andrea Macko reports for Porcupine Soup that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced on Dec. 13 that the levels of groundwater contaminants around the former American Thermostat Co. site in south Cairo in Greene County have not decreased significantly after more than 25 years of extraction and treatment. The federal agency reported that the, “EPA is currently preparing a plan for an investigation to look for residual contamination and, if found, to evaluate options to address it.... Beginning this winter, EPA will collect soil and groundwater samples to identify any sources of contamination. Soil samples will be taken from borings that are made by drilling a hole in the ground. EPA will collect 82 soil borings in rows around the former manufacturing building and on either side of Route 23.” The American Thermostat Co. built thermostats for small appliances on eight acres between State Route 23 and Route 23B from 1954 to 1985. In 1981, New York's Department of Environmental Conservation found that American Thermostat employees had been pouring waste organic solvents down drains attached to an abandoned septic system for several years and dumping chemicals on the parking lot. Scientists have found the land contaminated with trichloroethylene and other volatile organic compounds, including tetrachloroethylene, which is cancer-causing. The site has been on the Superfund program’s National Priorities List since 1983. The EPA said on Dec. 13 that if more remediation work is needed, there will be a forum for the public to comment on the proposed cleanup plan. Read more about this story in Porcupine Soup.