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EPA Invites Public Input on Proposed Cleanup Plan for Lehigh Valley Railroad Superfund Site in Genesee County, New York

18 Aug 2023 11:02 AM | Michael Lazo (Administrator)

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Mike Basile (


NEW YORK - The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is seeking public input on its proposed cleanup plan to address contaminated groundwater, soil, bedrock, soil vapor and surface water at the Lehigh Valley Railroad site located in LeRoy, New York. A 30-day public comment period for the proposed plan begins on August 18, 2023. EPA will host a public meeting at Caledonia Mumford High School auditorium, 99 North Street, Caledonia, NY   on August 29, 2023, at 6:00 p.m. to explain the new cleanup proposal. EPA’s proposed plan for the Lehigh Valley Railroad site will address the remaining contamination from a historic train accident that spilled trichloroethylene (TCE) onto the ground and into the groundwater. 

The site includes the location of a former train derailment that occurred on December 6, 1970, at the Gulf Road crossing in the Town of LeRoy. Two tank cars ruptured and spilled approximately 30,000 gallons of TCE onto the ground. A third car containing a crystalline form of cyanide was also reported to have partially spilled. The cyanide was recovered shortly after the derailment, however the TCE was flushed with water, and it seeped into the ground, resulting in a 4-mile-long plume of TCE contamination. EPA placed the site on the National Priorities List in 1999 and has been cleaning the site in several stages, including early removal responses, as well as remedial actions known as operable units (OUs).

The cleanup outlined in today’s proposed plan will address the groundwater, bedrock, soil, soil vapor, and surface water. For the groundwater contamination, EPA has determined that no existing treatment methods can clean up the groundwater to meet standards in a reasonable time. Therefore, EPA proposes to monitor the groundwater and use institutional controls (ICs) to limit its use and protect people’s health over the long term.

The proposed plan also includes:

  • Removing remaining contaminated soil and disposing of it off-site, followed by backfilling with clean fill.
  • In-situ treatment of contaminated surface water with streambed cover, ICs, and monitoring.  
  • Monitoring groundwater, surface water, soil vapor and indoor air to check the levels of contaminants.
  • Maintaining and installing vapor mitigation systems for properties that are affected by soil vapor intrusion from the groundwater plume. These systems prevent harmful vapors from entering indoor spaces.
  • Connecting new homes built over the groundwater plume to the public water supply system. Existing homes over the plume were connected to the public water system in 2003.
  • ICs in the form of governmental controls, proprietary controls (e.g., easements in the spill area), and informational devices (e.g., notices, publications) to limit exposure to contaminated groundwater and soil vapor.

EPA also proposes changes to a 1997 cleanup plan to eliminate source control measures including bedrock vapor extraction, to update the surface water standard for TCE, and to address soil contamination beneath Gulf Road by implementing ICs to restrict access and to require proper soil management if the roadbed is disturbed in the future.

Written comments on the proposed plan may be mailed or emailed to Maria Jon, Remedial Project Manager, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, 290 Broadway – 19th Floor, New York, NY 10007, Email:

For additional background and to see the proposed cleanup plan, visit the Lehigh Valley Railroad Superfund site profile page.

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