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EPA says cleanup complete at West Winfield Superfund site

By WKTV News

WEST WINFIELD, N.Y. (WKTV) - The United States Environmental Protection Agency has completed the cleanup site of the Hiteman Leather Superfund site, a former tannery in West Winfield and deleted it from the Superfund National priorities List of the county's most hazardous waste sites.

The former Hiteman Leather Company site is located on South Street (Route 51) in the Village of West Winfield, near the intersection of Route 51 and Route 20.

Soil and sediment on the site was contaminated with chromium, a dangerous metal that can cause serious health effects. After a review of conditions at the site, the EPA has determined that the cleanup continues to protect people's health and the environment.

The Hiteman Leather Company operated as a tannery on the 12-acre site from 1820 to 1968. By 1964, approximately 180,000 gallons of treated industrial waste water was being dumped each day from the tannery into three unlined lagoons, the EPA states. The lagoons discharged into the Unadilla River and a nearby wetland.

The EPA added the Hiteman Leather site to the Superfund list in 1999 after finding high levels of chromium in the soil on the site and in sediments in the adjacent wetland and river.

The EPA first demolished the contaminated, structurally unsound buildings on the site and fenced the property to restrict access. The contaminated soil from the site and contaminated sediment from the wetland and the river were evacuated and consolidated on-site. A soil cover was then installed over the entire site, the EPA says.

The EPA finished the cleanup work in 2008 and states that it has continued to monitor the site. Based on the monitoring results, the EPA proposed to remove the site form the NPL in December 2011 and received no comments on its proposal. The EPA will continue to assess conditions at the site every five years to ensure that the cleanup continues to be protective of human health and the environment.

In 2003, the EPA awarded a $100,000 grant to the Village of West Winfield to develop a Reuse Assessment and Redevelopment Plan for the Hiteman Leather site as part of the EPA's Superfund Redevelopment Initiative. The plan calls for the construction of a community center, development of recreational facilities, consolidation and modernization of the existing Department of Public Works facility, and commercial development. With the deletion of the site from the Superfund list, West Winfield can now redevelop the site consistent with the Reuse Assessment and Redevelopment Plan.

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