EPA proposes PCB cleanup plan for Lower Ley Creek portion of Onondaga Lake Superfund Site

— The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has proposed a plan to clean up contaminated soil and sediment at the Lower Ley Creek area of the Onondaga Lake Superfund Site located in the town of Salina. Discharges from nearby industries and a landfill have contaminated the soil and sediment with polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) and other hazardous substances. PCBs are potentially cancer-causing chemicals that can build up in the tissue of fish and other wildlife and pose a threat to people who eat them. The EPA proposal calls for a combination of excavation, capping and disposal of contaminated soil and sediment.

“The proposed plan is an important step in the ongoing effort to control sources of contamination to Onondaga Lake and protect people’s health,” said Judith A. Enck, EPA regional administrator. “PCBs are dangerous and contaminate fish, so it is important that the Lower Ley Creek be cleaned up.”

The EPA will hold a public meeting on July 29 to explain the proposed plan and is encouraging public comments. The meeting will be held at 7 p.m. at Salina Town Hall, 201 School Road, Liverpool. Comments will be accepted until Aug. 14.

The Onondaga Lake Superfund Site, which includes the lake itself, six tributaries and various upland sources of contamination, was placed on the EPA’s Superfund list in 1994. The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation and the EPA have organized the cleanup work for the Onondaga Lake Superfund Site into 11 areas. These areas are in various stages of cleanup.

The Lower Ley Creek area is located in an industrialized area in the town of Salina. Since the late 19th century, several industries have been operating near Ley Creek and its branches. As part of these operations, industrial wastes containing PCB oils and other hazardous substances were discharged into the Creek. In the 1970s, Ley Creek was dredged and redirected through the Salina Landfill by Onondaga County in an effort to control flooding. Dredged material was spread along the shoreline of the creek and also disposed of at the Salina Landfill.

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