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EPA proposes cleanup plan for Diaz Chemical Superfund site

August 14, 2012
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NEW YORK — The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is proposing a plan to clean up contaminated soil and groundwater at the Diaz Chemical Corp. Superfund site in Holley, N.Y.

The soil and groundwater are contaminated with volatile and semi-volatile organic compounds, which can cause serious damage to people’s health.

Diaz Chemical Corp. purchased the site in 1974 and began manufacturing specialty chemicals for the agricultural, pharmaceutical, photographic, color and dye and personal care products industries at the site.

In January 2002, a safety valve at the facility ruptured, causing a release of a chemical mixture into the neighboring residential area. Area residents experienced sore throats, headaches, eye irritation, nosebleeds and skin rashes and some residents voluntarily relocated to temporary housing with assistance from Diaz Chemical.

In June 2003, Diaz Chemical filed for bankruptcy and abandoned the facility, leaving behind large volumes of chemicals in drums and tanks.

EPA added the Diaz Chemical site to the Superfund list of the most contaminated hazardous waste sites in 2004.

The proposed plan calls for a method that uses electrodes to heat the soil and groundwater, causing the contaminants to evaporate and turn into vapor and steam. The vapor and steam would then be collected and treated. For contaminated groundwater outside of the six sources of contamination, the EPA is proposing to rely on natural processes that allow the contaminants to disperse, dilute and degrade to groundwater cleanup levels.

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