United States
                  Environmental Protection
                   Solid Waste and
                   Emergency Response
   Summer 1994
v>EPA       Superfund At Work
                  Hazardous Waste Cleanup Efforts Nationwide
   Marathon Battery Co.
         Site Profile
  Site Description:
  Former battery manufacturing facility

  Site Size: 350 acres

  Primary Contaminants:
  Heavy metals and trichloroethylene

  Potential Range of Health Effects:
  Kidney disorders, central nervous
  and immune system deficiencies,
  and lung cancer

  Nearby Population Affected:
  400 people within one mile

  Ecological Concerns:
  Hudson River, surrounding marshes,
  wetlands, and wildlife

  Year Listed on NPL: 1983

  EPA Region: 2

  State: New York

  Congressional District: 21
Success in Brief

Diverse Conditions Require

Tailored Cleanup in New York

   The Marathon Battery Company site encompasses wetlands,
archaeologically and historically sensitive land, a manufacturing and
warehousing facility, and contaminated residential areas. Because of
the site's diversity, the U.S. Enviromental Protection Agency (EPA)
designed specific treatment remedies to address the effects of exten-
sive heavy metal contamination. Using Superfund authority, EPA and
private party cleanup efforts included:
   •  Draining, dredging, and treating contaminated sediments and
     replanting acres of coves and marshes along the Hudson River;
   •  Excavating and treating contaminated soil surrounding the
     battery plant and an underground vault;
   •  Decontaminating and recycling books stored at the plant;
   •  Excavating and landscaping residential yards near the site.
   In reaching final remedy decisions, EPA asked for help from scien-
tists, citizens, and environmental groups at frequent public meetings.
The Agency settled with former property owners and plant operators
to conduct the cleanup, estimated at $91 million. The parties also
agreed to reimburse EPA $13.5 million for past cleanup and future
oversight costs.
Photo: Eric Lind, courtesy of Constitution Marsh Sanctuary, National Audubon Societ
 "Beaver's little brother," the muskrat, is a fur-bearing, aquatic mammal
 whose population has plummeted to 15% of normal because of cadmium
 contamination in marsh cattails, a primary food source.
                              The Site Today

                                After a hard winter, the
                              former battery plant is coming
                              down and the site will soon be
                              an empty lot, available for
                              commercial applications.  Area
                              ground water will need treat-
                              ment prior to use for years to
                              come. Wetlands replanting
                              efforts should be completed by
                              1995; natural recovery systems
                              for the marsh, including
                              wildlife and endangered
                              species, can best be accom-
                              plished in solitude.

                   Superfund At Work • Marathon Battery Co. Site, Cold Spring, NY   •  Summer 1994-
          Battery Co. Site
          Cold Spring, NY
  The Marathon Battery
Company site encompasses
350 acres of land bordering
the Hudson River in lower
New York State. The site
includes the battery manufac-
turing plant, a residential
neighborhood, the Hudson
River in the vicinity of Cold
Spring Pier, and a series of
backwater river areas known as
East and West Foundry Cove
and Constitution Marsh.
         A Site Snapshot

                  High levels of heavy
               metals, including cad-
               mium, nickel, and cobalt,
               were found at the plant
               and in river sediments
               and marsh soil.  Rela-
               tively high levels of
               cadmium concentrations
        were detected in nearby residen-
        tial yards of Cold Spring. Area
        ground water contained elevated
        levels of trichloroethylene (TCE).
           Tidal action slowly flushed
        cadmium deposits from the
        wetlands of Foundry Cove into
        the Hudson River. Accumulated
        concentrations of cadmium in the
        soil and sediments threatened the
        marsh, indigenous wildlife, and
        numerous plant species. Heavy
        metals do not biodgrade and
                        therefore are highly persistent in
                        the environment, disturbing soil
                        microbial activity and affecting
                        plant and animal metabolism.
                        The short-nosed sturgeon, an
                        endangered species of fish,
                        migrates up and down the
                        Hudson and feeds on insect
                        larvae in the contaminated soil
                        sediments. Limited consump-
                        tion of another species, the blue
                        claw crab, is recommended.
                           Approximately 400 people
                        live within one mile of the
                        site. Potential health effects
                        from heavy metal contamina-
                        tion include kidney damage,
                        cardiovascular and immune
                        system deficiencies, central
                        nervous system disorders,
                        and lung cancer.
   Marathon Battery Co.
    II Hie 11 fie                       * 90,000 cubic meters removed and buried in vaiult
                                   • State detects cadmium and nickel in cove and marsh

                   Federal permit allows discharge of treated cadmium wastewater

                  EPA orders Marathon/Gould to dredge sediments
• State detects cadmium in East Foundry Cove<^
• Congress enacts Clean Water Act 4
• Marathon Battery purchases plant <^
• Sonotone builds treatment plant m
• Series of owner/operators ]
Wastewater discharged in marsh ^

U.S. Army constructs battery
manufacturing plant
U.S. En\
Region 5
77 West

, Library (
Jackson E
IL 606C

1 Protects

>n Agency
12th Floor
~l r—
early 1960s
1971    1972-1973

                      Superfund At Work  •  Marathon Battery Co. Site, Cold Spring, NY   •  Summer 1994'
               Wetlands Endure 27 Years of Pollution
   The site's history began in 1952
 when the U.S. Army constructed
 a plant for battery manufacturing
 outside the town of Cold Spring.
 A series of owners made batteries
 at the plant for commercial or
 military use; Marathon Battery
 owned and operated the plant
 from 1969 until 1979. Other
 owners included Sonotone Cor-
 poration, Clevite Corporation,
 and Gould, Inc.
   Prior to 1965, the facility dis-
 charged untreated wastewater
 into the Hudson River through
 the municipal sewer system.
 During periods of overload or
 system shutdown, wastewater
 was discharged directly into East
 Foundry Cove Marsh (see map).
   In 1965, the State Department
 of Health concluded that the new
Cold Spring municipal sewage
treatment system under design
would not be able to handle the
plant's industrial wastewater.
The plant was required to de-
velop a new system for treatment.
Plant operators began to dis-
charge treated wastewater di-
rectly into East Foundry Cove.
But the treatment process devel-
oped for the plant did not work
consistently and contaminated
wastewater frequently entered
the Cove.
   In 1971, state officials detected
high cadmium levels in East
Foundry Cove in violation of the
Clean Water Act of 1970. To
comply with an EPA order,
Marathon Battery Company and
Gould Inc. dredged a portion
of the cove in 1972 and 1973,
             removed 90,000 cubic meters
             of contaminated sediments,
             and buried the residue in a clay-
             lined, underground vault on the

                  East Foundry Cove
                  sustained years of
                 cadmium discharge

               In 1975, Marathon Battery
             obtained a federal permit to
             discharge treated wastewater
             containing low levels of cad-
             mium. Despite the earlier dredg,-
             ing, sampling in 1976 revealed
             continued high cadmium and
             nickel concentrations in the
             marsh. In 1979, the company
             closed the plant and  moved from
             Cold Spring to Texas. Merchan
    • Marathon Battery closes plant and relocates

            • Merchandise Dynamics purchases plant for book warehouse
            • Congress enacts CERCLA
                   •EPA adds site to NPL
                   • Archaelogical artifacts first uncovered

                          • Merchandise Dynamics declares bankruptcy
                          • Following public comment, remedy selected for Area I
                                 1 EPA orders Marathon and Gould to clean up the former battery plant
                                      m »Army and Marathon reimburse EPA for Area II
                                                • Consent decree with Gould for cleanup of Areas I, II and III
                                                • Army and Marathon set up trust fund
                                                • EPA recovers costs
1979   1980    1983   1986    1989    1992
                                                        • Dredging in Areas I and III
                                                         scheduled for completion
                                                        • Excavation and
                                                         restoration of Area I
                                             Replanting in Areas I
                                             and III completed
1995 Ongoing

                     'Superfund At Work •  Marathon Battery Co. Site, Cold Spring, NY  •  Summer 1994 •
dise Dynamics, Inc. purchased the
property in 1980 for use as a book
storage facility. Later that year,
Congress enacted the Compre-
hensive Environmental Response,
Compensation, and Liability Act
to address cleanup of the nation's
hazardous waste sites.
   Investigations at the battery
plant began in 1983 when the
New York State Department of
Environmental Conservation
(NYSDEC) sampled the marsh
and analyzed various cleanup
alternatives. Because of the
severity and extent of contamina-
tion, EPA added the site to the
National Priorities List (NPL) of
uncontrolled or abandoned
hazardous waste sites requiring
long-term cleanup under the
Superfund program.
   Business activities ceased at
the site in 1986 when Merchan-
dise Dynamics declared bank-
ruptcy; the warehoused books
were contaminated with cad-
mium dust by this time.

EPA Tailors Cleanup to
Maximize Effectiveness
   EPA assumed responsibility for
the site in 1986, dividing the
cleanup into three geographical
areas.  Before activities began,
EPA opened an Information
Repository so that interested
members of the public would be
kept apprised of site progress.

Area I: Sensitive Wetlands
   Following a period of public
comment, EPA selected a remedy
  Marathon Battery Co. Site
        Cold Spring, MY    .

        (not to scale)   ^r
 Area                Description
   I     East Foundry Cove Marsh and Constitution Marsh
   II    Former battery plant, surrounding property, nearby residential yards
   111    East Foundry Cove, West Foundry Cove, and Cold Spring pier area
to excavate contaminated sedi-
ments from East Foundry Cove
Marsh. Following treatment and
off-site disposal of sediments, the
marsh would be restored with
clean soil and replanted. Reme-
dial operations would require
building a dike around the marsh
and constructing a short rail spur
to haul away treated soil, avoid-
ing disruption of Cold Spring's
historic downtown district. Work
                                                                                  continued on page 5

                      Superfund At Work • Marathon Battery Co. Site, Cold Spring, NY  •  Summer 1994
  27 Years of


 continued from page 4

 to excavate and replant the marsh
 and dredge the cove is ongoing
 under a Consent Decree signed in
 1993 (see below).
   Because of limited contamina-
 tion and the possibility that hu-
 man intervention could cause
 more environmental harm than
 good, Constitution Marsh will not
 be remediated.

 Area II: The Battery Plant and
 Residential Areas
   The cleanup approach selected
 for Area II included the 11-acre
 plant grounds, the interior of the
 facility including the books, the
 underground vault, and nearby
 residential yards, hi 1989, EPA
 issued a Unilateral Administrative
 Order to Marathon and Gould to
 participate in the facility cleanup
 valued at approximately $2.3
   In late 1991, the companies
 completed a pilot study on ways
 to decontaminate books in the
warehouse. Cleanup of the plant's
interior was completed in late 1992
and the books recycled. During
the winter of 1993, part of the roof
 collapsed on the facility, and the
 responsible parties agreed to
 demolish the structure altogether.
   The plant ground remediation,
 including excavation of the vault,
 was begun in mid-1993 concur-
 rently with Areas I and III and
 should be completed by late 1994.
 Ground water contamination will
 be monitored for 30 years.

 Nearby Residents Get
 New Landscaping
   Over the years, contamination
 from the battery plant had mi-
 grated to the yards of nearby
 residents in the town of Cold
 Spring. The Agency for Toxic
 Substances and Disease Registry, a
 federal partner with EPA that
 conducts risk assessments at
 Superfund sites, recommended a
 cleanup level for cadmium in soil
 at 20 parts per million (ppm).  EPA
 removed the top layer of contami-
 nated soil and relandscaped those
 areas where concentrations ex-
 ceeded 20 ppm.
   EPA completed the design work
 on the residential yards in 1991
 and completed excavation and
 relandscaping in mid-1992.
 NYSDEC officials took additional
 precautions by cleaning up the soil
 of those residences with cadmium
levels between 10 and 20 ppm,
bringing the total residential
cleanup to 17 homes.
 Area III: The Coves and Cold
 Spring Pier
   Engineering designs for Area
 III began in mid-1989 and were
 completed in early 1992.  Follow-
 ing a series of negotiations as-
 sisted by the U.S. Department of
 Justice, previous property owners
 signed a Consent Decree that was
 entered by the court in April 1993.
 Under this decree, Gould agreed
 to conduct the cleanup, while
 Marathon Battery Co. and the
 U.S. Army paid $41 million into a
 trust fund for cleanup operations,
 in addition to $11 million previ-
 ously placed in the trust fund for
 Area II.
   Dredging of sediments started
 later that year from East Foundry
 Cove and the Hudson River in
 the vicinity of Cold Spring Pier.
 Sediments were thickened,
 chemically fixed, and disposed
 off site. Concurrent excavation
 operations in Area I should be
 completed by the fall of 1994 and
 replanting efforts by 1995. West
 Foundry Cove was not disturbed,
 since contamination will be
 naturally covered by clean sedi-
 ments over time.
   In addition, the responsible
parties agreed to reimburse EPA
for $9 million in past costs, $1.5
million for prior cleanup activi-
ties, and up to $3 million for
oversight costs.

                   •Superfund At Work • Marathon
             .. Site, Cold Spring, NY  •  Summer 1994 •
          Cleanup Develops Into
             Archaeological Dig
     During site investigation
and sampling activities,
engineers uncovered
valuable Indian
artifacts and Civil
War relics. The
town of Cold
Spring is on the
National Historic
Register because
of some well-
and Civil
War signifi-
cance. Because
some of the town's streets are
very narrow, heavy dump
trucks laden with construction
equipment and soil sediments
from the site would have dam-
aged the historic streets and
building foundations.
  For this reason, contaminated
 waste was removed on a short
         rail spur built over a
         track originally used
          by a foundry that
           produced Civil War
              EPA retained
              archeologists to
              assist with the
            proper removal
         and recording of
artifacts, providing an exciting
glimpse into the history of
Native American Indians and
the Civil War in New York.
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   Success at


  Batteiy Co.

  This large and diverse site
with ecological sensitivity,
endangered species, con-
taminated residential yards,
and archaeological signifi-
cance has required careful
and painstaking cleanup
procedures. EPA made
considerable progress at the
site by tailoring remedies to
specific areas, using private
resources for cleanup efforts,
and involving citizens in
decisions. Wetland recovery
efforts and ground water
monitoring will continue for
the next 30 years.
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