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Genzale Plating

Site Contact:
Louis Diguardia


Site Location:
288 New Hyde Park Road
Nassau County
Franklin Square, NY 11010

EPA ID# NYD002050110
Nassau County
Franklin Square on Long Island

Site Description

The ½-acre Genzale Plating Company site comprised a metal-plating facility, an attached two- story office building and an undeveloped backyard area which served as a parking lot and storage area. Beginning in 1915 through 2000, the facility electroplated small products such as automobile antennas, parts of ball point pens, and bottle openers and is known to have discharged wastewater containing heavy metals as well as organic contaminants into four sub-surface leaching pits at the rear of the site. Although the facility was connected to the municipal sewer system in 1955, a 1981 Nassau County Department of Health (NCDH) inspection found that industrial wastewater continued to be discharged into the on-site leaching pits. The company was ordered by NCDH to cease the discharge and began, but never completed, the excavation of sludge and contaminated soils from the pits. The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (NYSDEC) conducted an investigation of the Genzale site in 1983 to determine the potential threat to public health posed by potential off-site migration of contaminants into the groundwater. As a result of this investigation, the site was added to the NPL. The site is situated in a densely populated residential area. There are seven supply wells located within one mile of the site. The nearest, the Franklin Square Water District well, is 1,400 feet southeast of the site. This water district supplies water to approximately 20,000 people. Another 32,000 people are supplied by West Hempstead-Hempstead Water District wells which are located within 3 miles of the site. The site is above Long Island's sole-source aquifers for municipal and private water supplies.

Site Responsibility:
This site is being addressed through Federal actions.
Proposed Date: 06/01/86
Final Date: 07/01/87

Threats and Contaminants

Chromium, cadmium, and nickel were detected in both on-site and off-site groundwater monitoring wells. In addition, on-site wells showed contamination by volatile organic compounds (VOCs). However, residents are not at risk of drinking this contaminated groundwater water as they receive their drinking water from public water supplies which are routinely tested to ensure compliance with state and federal drinking water standards.
Cleanup Approach

This site has been addressed in two stages: two long-term response actions focusing on cleanup of the on-site soils and groundwater, and the investigation of downgradient groundwater.

Response Action Status

Previous Actions: In 1982, the potentially responsible party partially completed sludge removal and soil excavation from the leaching pits.

Site Soils and Groundwater: In 1988, the EPA initiated the first phase of an investigation to determine the nature and extent of contamination at the site. The study indicated that on-site soils and groundwater were contaminated with both inorganics and organics. In early 1991, a remedy was selected and documented in a Record of Decision (ROD). The remedy included the treatment of contaminated soils by soil vapor extraction (SVE) for organics contamination, followed by excavation and off-site treatment of soils for metals contamination. The design of the selected remedies was begun in late 1991. The design of the soil remedy was completed in September 1994. EPA had entered into an Interagency Agreement with the United States Army Corps of Engineers to perform the soil remedy. Construction activities for the soil vapor extraction unit were completed in July 1995. After approximately one year of operation, in May 1996, confirmatory soil sampling established that the soils had reached clean-up levels for organics and the unit was shut down and dismantled. EPA performed detailed sampling of the soils following the SVE action in order to delineate the metal contamination in a precise fashion. The excavation of soils contaminated with metals was completed in the fall of 1997.

In May 2000, the Genzale plant ceased operations. The facility set aside funds for the decommissioning of the operational part of the site and the removal of the wastes generated during the decommissioning. The wastes were exported off-site for disposal. Decommissioning activities were completed in June 2000. Following the cessation of operations at the facility, EPA sampled the soil and groundwater underlying the vacated plant building. This sampling indicated the presence of additional inorganic and organic contamination. Based on the additional contamination found underneath the former plant building, EPA performed air monitoring in nearby residences, and some homes located immediately adjacent to the former plant were found to have elevated levels of TCE. In order to address the contamination underlying the building, EPA planned to demolish the former plant and operate a soil vapor extraction unit as a Removal Action, followed by excavation of contaminated soils.

Downgradient Groundwater: Based on the results of the initial investigation, a second investigation was conducted to study groundwater contamination downgradient of the site. The study was completed in early 1995 and it was determined that the nearby water supplies were not a risk of contamination and further off-site groundwater remedial action was not warranted. This decision was documented in a September 1995 ROD.

Cleanup Progress

After adding the Genzale Plating site to the NPL, EPA conducted an initial evaluation and determined that no immediate actions were needed.

A SVE unit operated from May 1995 to July 1996, when soil clean-up levels, as mandated by the ROD, were achieved. Approximately 32,000 tons of soils were cleaned up. About 50 pounds of volatile and semivolatile organics were removed during the SVE operation.

In June of 1995 all on-site debris were removed and taken off the site.

During the summer of 1997 more than 5,500 tons of soil contaminated with metals were removed from the site and replaced with native sand.

Once the plating business had ceased operations in late 2000, EPA's Removal Action Branch were mobilized to evaluate the site conditions for further action. In the Summer of 2003, the former plant building was demolished to the basement structure and a new soil vapor extraction (SVE) system, a process that uses vacuum wells to remove hazardous gases from the soil, was installed. The SVE system addressed the elevated levels of volatile organic compounds (VOCs), contaminants that evaporate into the air easily. The SVE system was operated continually until the final excavation activities began in February 2005.

Analysis of the SVE system operation identified a buried tank at the rear of the former process building which was providing a source for the VOC contamination at the site. An explanation of Significant Differences was issued by EPA in July 2004 which described this finding and the measures necessary to remediate this additional problem.

Mobilization began during February 2005 and site remediation activities have been continual. The remainder of the building has been demolished and disposed of off-site. The areas of contaminated soils have been excavated to a minimum depth of 15 feet; excavation was deeper where necessary. The limits of soil excavation were determined by sampling the edges of the excavations to assure that the contaminated soils had all been removed to the extent practicable. These soils have been taken offsite for disposal. All excavations have been backfilled with clean soil and regraded. In order to protect the public from the potential of encountering unobserved contamination which may remain at the site, any future development at the property which may occur will be limited to 15 feet from grade.

The activites took longer than originally anticipated due to the discovery of numerous tanks and buried contamination in the vicinity of the former process building. All buried containers have been excavated and have been disposed off-site.

Extensive air monitoring was performed by the U.S. Coast Guard to assure there was no exposure to the public. There were no occurences during these remedial activities where the public was exposed to on-site contamination. All monitoring data is available at the Franklin Square Public Library.

Once the excavation activities were completed, a groundwater extraction and treatment facility was constructed. The groundwater treatment building was completed in August 2005. The system has been operating since that time.

EPA will ensure the safety of the water supply in the site area through implementation of the groundwater treatment system. This system will be operated until it has been determined that the site no longer is a source of contamination to the underlying aquifer.

Through these actions, EPA has determined that the Genzale Plating Superfund site no longer poses a threat to human health or the environment.