Lawmakers Announce EPA to Begin Removing Barrels from LeRoy Superfund Site

February 22, 2012 Updated Feb 22, 2012 at 3:11 PM EDT

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Lawmakers Announce EPA to Begin Removing Barrels from LeRoy Superfund Site

February 22, 2012 Updated Feb 22, 2012 at 3:11 PM EDT

LeRoy, N.Y. (WKBW release) -- Wednesday morning, after New York Congresswoman Kathy Hochul spoke with Environmental Protection Agency Regional Administrator Judith Enck, she, along with New York Senators Charles E. Schumer Kirsten Gillibrand, announced that the EPA will begin the removal of the barrels from the Lehigh Railroad Derailment Superfund site in LeRoy today and will complete the process by the end of the week.

“I’m proud to announce that these barrels will be leaving LeRoy beginning today; a positive step in the process of cleaning up this Superfund site,” Hochul said in a news release. “While these developments are long overdue, now we must continue our work to remediate the site and ensure there is no contamination threatening the residents of LeRoy.”

“Removing these barrels is a critical step forward to ensuring that we clean up this site and put public health and safety first,” said Senator Schumer. “The people who live, work, and visit LeRoy deserve the peace of mind that comes with knowing that the area is free from contaminants, and removing these barrels is an important part of that process.”

“I am pleased the EPA is removing the barrels from this Superfund site,” said Senator Gillibrand, a member of the Senate Environment & Public Works Committee.  “The EPA must now continue testing and monitoring all areas around the site to assure residents there has been no further contamination.  Everyone in LeRoy and Genesee County must know that their community is a safe place to live, visit, work, and raise a family.”

Testing has been completed on all 235 drums from the federal Superfund site and the EPA has found all barrels to be non-hazardous.  The barrels, which contain soil and rocks generated when wells were drilled at the site, were tested over the past month. No tested contaminants were detected in materials from 203 of the drums.  In 32 of the drums, some detectable concentrations of contaminants were found.  However, in all cases the levels of these contaminants were low and are below health-based levels.

Despite being below the EPA’s hazardous threshold, the barrels will be disposed of at a landfill that is permitted to accept hazardous waste in Belleville, Michigan.  The Lehigh Valley Railroad will pay the cost of disposing of the drums.

Earlier this month, Congresswoman Hochul, Senator Schumer, and Senator Gillibrand sent a letter to the EPA calling on them to release the December quarterly testing report.