Former Long Island aircraft manufacturing site cleaned up

Pollution left from a decade of heavy military production on a New York island has been cleared up.

The site on Long Island was removed from America's environmental watchdog's Superfund National Priorities List of the most hazardous waste sites yesterday (September 13).

From 1971 to 1983 SMS Instruments overhauled military aircraft components and dumped wastewater from degreasing and other refurbishing operations into a leaching pool on-site.

The site, a 1.5-acre parcel of land, is in a light industrial and residential area called Deer Park on the island.

This, said the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), led to contamination including benzene, ethylbenzene, and xylenes, which can pose significant risks to people's health.

"The cleanup of this site is a success and we can now remove this once hazardous property from the Superfund list," said EPA administrator Judith Enck.

"Our assessment shows that the work we have done will fully protect people's health and the environment."

In addition, an underground storage tank used to store fuel leaked, further contaminating soil and ground water with volatile organic compounds and heavy metals, including chromium and lead.

In 1986, EPA placed the site on the Superfund National Priorities List, and it was partly paid for by the responsible party.

The site was cleaned up in three stages.

First, the industrial leaching pool was pumped out, backfilled with clean sand, and sealed. In addition, the underground storage tank that was leaking was removed and the soil around it was excavated.

EPA subsequently pumped contaminated ground water to the surface, treated it to remove contaminants, and then poured it back into the ground water.

Luke Walsh


hazardous waste


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