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For Release: Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Public Invited to Meeting on State Superfund Site

Public Comment Period for Bayer OXY Hooker RUCO Polymer Site Runs through March 29

The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC), in conjunction with the State Department of Health (DOH), will hold a public meeting Tuesday, March 20, at 7 p.m., to present a proposed clean-up plan for the Bayer OXY Hooker RUCO Polymer Corp. (Hooker Chemical) site.

The meeting will be held at the Bethpage Community Center located at 103 Grumman Road West in Bethpage. At the meeting, DEC and DOH staff will describe the contents of the cleanup proposal (called a Proposed Remedial Action Plan or PRAP).

The remedy proposed for the site includes excavating on-site soils that contain excessive amounts of polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), arsenic, cadmium and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) and disposal of these soils off-site.

PCBs belong to a broad family of man-made organic chemicals known as chlorinated hydrocarbons and were domestically manufactured from 1929 until their manufacture was banned in 1979. Due to the stability of PCBs, they were used in hundreds of industrial and commercial applications from electrical equipment to paints, plastics and dyes. PAHs are a group of compounds that are mostly formed from the incomplete burning of carbon-containing materials like oil, wood, garbage or coal.

Following excavation, soil samples will be taken of the excavated site to ensure the remaining soil meets commercial soil cleanup objectives (SCO). SCOs have been set to protect human health and the environment.

A cover system of the site will be required to allow for commercial use of the site in the future. The cover will be used as an active method to prevent the potential exposure of select areas of remaining contamination that will not be removed by excavation. Some remaining contaminants may include soil exhibiting semi-volatile organic compounds (SVOCs) and metals at concentrations greater than the commercial SCOs. (SVOCs are a group of chemicals composed primarily of carbon and hydrogen that have a tendency to evaporate (volatilize) into the air from water or soil.)

The cover system will consist either of structures such as buildings, asphalt pavement, sidewalks, or a clean soil cover of at least one foot.

Any future on-site buildings will be required to have a sub-slab depressurization system, or a similar system, that prevents any potential vapors from remaining SVOCs in the soil from entering into the basement of the building.

The remedy also includes the instituting a site management plan and an environmental easement to ensure effectiveness of the remedy and the proper use of the site in the future.

The public comment period for the proposed remedy runs through March 29, 2012. DEC will consider public comments as it finalizes the preferred remedy for the site. The selected remedy will be described in a document called a "Record of Decision" that will explain why the remedy was selected and respond to public comments.

Background:

The site is located just southeast of the intersection of New South Road and Commerce Place in Hicksville and consists of a 14-acre triangular-shaped parcel that used to contain several buildings including four plant buildings and an administration building. The site is currently zoned light industrial and is bordered by industrial properties to the north and Long Island Railroad tracks and commercial/industrial properties to the south and west.

The site was originally constructed in 1945 and was previously owned and operated by Hooker Chemical and Plastic Corporation and, subsequently, by the Occidental Chemical Corporation (OXY) from 1966 to 1982. The site produced polyester resins, polyurethane dispersions, polyvinyl chloride (PVC), latex and ester. From 1951 to 1975, three onsite sumps were used to dispose of wastewaters from PVC, latex and ester manufacturing processes. Wastewaters contained numerous contaminants from the manufacturing processes and were discharged in these sumps, ultimately contaminating the area. Heat transfer fluid that contained PCBs was also used in one of the plants, and the incidental release of this fluid to the ground resulted in soil contamination. Soils under a former underground fuel oil tank were also contaminated with PCBs.

The site was designated a Superfund site by the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and placed on the National Priorities List (NPL). Various soil and groundwater investigations were implemented in the mid-1980s including and initially focused on: (1) former discharge of plant wastewater containing volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and heavy metals into onsite recharge basins and (2) past release of heat transfer fluids containing PCBs. The site was purchased by Bayer Material Science LLC (Bayer) in 2000 and Bayer decided to close the facility in 2002. Bayer entered into a RCRA (Resource Conservation and Recovery Act ) Closure Order on Consent with DEC in December 2002, and a cleanup was implemented based on the prior investigations.

Since that time, additional contaminated soils were discovered underneath newly demolished plant buildings and other areas of the site. These newly discovered areas are to be remediated by this proposed remedy.

A more detailed history of the site is available on DEC's website.

Next Steps:

DEC is accepting written comments about the proposed plan until March 29, 2012. The proposed plan is available for review at DEC's Regional Office at 50 Circle Road, Stony Brook and on DEC's web page "Region 1 Environmental Remediation Project Information" under "RUCO Polymer Corp. (Hooker Chem) Site - 130004."

Project documents are available at the Hicksville Public Library, 169 Jerusalem Ave, Hicksville.

Information on the previous and ongoing cleanups through the EPA can be found in the right column of this page.

Comments and questions should be directed to:

Mr. Steven Scharf
Department of Environmental Conservation
Division of Environmental Remediation
625 Broadway
Albany, NY 12233-7015
(518) 402-9620
sxscharf@gw.dec.state.ny.us

Site-Related Health Questions

Ms. Renata Ockerby
New York State Department of Health
Bureau of Environmental Exposure Investigation
547 River Street, Room 300
Troy, NY 12180
(518) 402-7880
reo02@health.state.ny.us

Receive Site Fact Sheets by E-mail:

As DEC continues its efforts to keep the public better informed of activities occurring in various projects occurring across New York state, DEC has created a new online listserv that can deliver project fact sheets directly to a recipient's email inbox.

The listservs are divided by county, and DEC invites all interested individuals to sign up for one or more of these informational outlets which are available at the following web page: www.dec.ny.gov/chemical/61092.html.

As a listserv member, you will periodically receive site-related information/announcements for all contaminated sites in the counties you select.

You may also continue to receive paper copies of site information for a period of time after you sign up with a county listserv, until the transition to electronic distribution is complete.