The Town of Nassau was recently notified by the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) that a site on Route 203 in the Town, believed to be related to the Dewey Loeffel operations, had tested positive for significant contamination. This contamination is approximately 5.5 miles from the federal Dewey Loeffel Superfund Site.
The previously known contamination at the Dewey Loeffel Landfill Superfund Site had been a disposal facility for more than 46,000 tons of industrial hazardous wastes, including solvents, waste oils, PCBs, sludge and solids. The contamination is two times the volume of the infamous Love Canal.
EPA is currently investigating the source of contamination at this new site.
Upon learning of this new contamination, the Town says it instituted a coordinated outreach to potentially impacted residents along with contact to elected officials at every level of government. The EPA, State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC), the State Department of Public Health (DOH) and Rensselaer County Department of Health were partners in this outreach and review.
The Town of Nassau Responded to this notification as follows:
- Nassau Supervisor, David Fleming, received notification by the EPA Regional Administrator on the afternoon of Thursday, March 14, 2019 that additional contamination had been discovered in the Town and that further information would be made available that evening. The Town was advised that a testing regimen to review the impact of the site to nearby private drinking water wells would be implemented by EPA on Monday, March 18, 2019.
- The Town Received more detailed information from EPA related to the contamination at 6:18 p.m. on Thursday, March 14, 2019.
- The Nassau Town Board met that evening to review the information presented during the regular meeting of the Board and advised the public of the discovery of an additional site of contamination in the town. The notice was also provided on social media.
- On Friday morning, March 15, 2019, a large group of EPA officials and response personnel provided a detailed update to the Town on a conference call outlining the information available as well as the expected response. EPA advised the Town that they were to begin testing of area residential wells on Monday, March 18, 2019.
- The Town provided notice to EPA that the Town Board’s action plan involved notifying area residents immediately of the contamination and expected well testing in advance of EPA’s arrival on Monday, March 18. EPA concurred with this plan.
- That day, members of the Nassau Town Board visited each property identified by the EPA as being potentially affected and provided all those residences with the EPA Fact Sheet on the possible contamination and a letter outlining the expected upcoming testing. The Town also advised residents of its recommendation to begin utilizing bottled water until the EPA test results were available.
- Rensselaer County Department of Health provided bottled water at the direction of the County Executive and backup water was supplied to the Nassau Ambulance facility for access by impacted residents until the test results and analysis of those results are concluded.
- The Town of Nassau requested additional outreach from EPA to other officials and the Town has engaged in communications with surrounding municipalities that faced the potential impact of contamination.
- With the permission of the Nassau Fire Company, the Nassau Highway Department disabled the dry hydrant located at the subject property and an impacted pond will not be utilized in the event of fire emergencies.
- Outreach continued with elected officials, senior members of DEC, EPA, and representatives of DOH as the initial testing at the site was concluded.
- Testing of residential wells continued through March 21, 2019 with the Town of Nassau being advised by the EPA Regional Administrator of the results on Monday, April 1, 2019.
- Families were notified of the results of the testing on Monday, April 1, 2019 and Tuesday, April 2, 2019.
- During the week of March 18th, EPA collected water samples from 26 residential groundwater wells located near the site. Samples were analyzed for a suite of chemicals, including PCBs, as well as volatile and semi-volatile organic compounds. Preliminary results show that TCE was detected in three of the 26 wells, at levels below the federal and state drinking water standards, and the remaining wells were all non-detect.
- Out of an abundance of caution, the Village of Nassau’s public supply well #2 (more than a mile away) was also sampled and was also non-detect.
- Validated data related to this contamination will take several more weeks. Additional site related testing related to the high levels of PCBs that were discovered on the site will continue into the next two months.
- At this time the area of contamination appears to be centered on one property related to Dewey Loeffel operations.
“The toxic legacy of the Dewey Loeffel Superfund Site continues to impact a community trying to heal from decades of contamination. I’m personally appreciative of my colleagues in local government for their quick response and professionalism in this most recent discovery. Nassau is also appreciative of the constant outreach by the EPA Regional Administrator Pete Lopez and his team and the DEC team led by Commissioner Basil Seggos. Their leadership, expertise and sincere concern in this most recently discovered contamination has meant a great deal,” said Nassau Supervisor David Fleming.
As part of this ongoing investigation by federal officials, the Town is asking anyone with information related to other properties around the Loeffel Superfund Site and surrounding communities that were utilized for trucking or other operations relating to the Dewey Loeffel Waste Dump from 1950-80 or even later, to please email firstname.lastname@example.org.