News media contacts:
Gail Penny (DOE) 631/344-3429
Peter Genzer (BNL) 631/344-3174

April 4, 2001 

Department of Energy, EPA and NY State Reach Agreement on Addressing Groundwater Contamination near North Street in Manorville

Upton, NY - The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) have agreed on a remedy to address groundwater contamination in western Manorville, just south of Brookhaven National Laboratory (BNL). The agreement, reached after extensive regulator and public review and comment, allows DOE and BNL to move forward with design, construction and implementation of the proposed remedy.

The remedy is contained in a document titled the Operable Unit VI Record of Decision. The document is available for review at the libraries listed below and on BNL's web site at

The Record of Decision (ROD) presents the selected remedial action for a localized area of groundwater contamination in an undeveloped section of western Manorville located about 1,000 feet west of Weeks Avenue. Groundwater in this area contains the chemical ethylene dibromide (EDB) at levels historically measured up to 6.0 parts per billion at depths of 90 - 130 feet below the land surface. Levels measured in recent monitoring are in the range of 1.0 to 2.0 parts per billion. The state and federal drinking water standard for EDB is 0.05 parts per billion.

EDB was once commonly used throughout the country as a pesticide and gasoline additive. BNL applied EDB to fields on site in the early 1970s to sterilize them prior to agricultural research. In 1996, DOE offered free public water hookups to residents in the Manorville area to prevent the potential for future exposure to EDB.

The selected remedy for the EDB contamination involves active treatment using a carbon system to clean groundwater. It works by filtering groundwater through carbon to remove the contaminant and returning the clean water to the aquifer.

In 1996, DOE had proposed to carefully monitor the EDB and allow it to naturally degrade and disperse over time. However, after reviewing several years of groundwater monitoring data, receiving additional comments from regulatory agencies, and obtaining data from a similar carbon system operating on Cape Cod, the plan has been changed to use active treatment to speed cleanup of the area.

The next step in the cleanup project involves the detailed planning and design of the remedy, including the number and locations of treatment wells. The construction and installation of this treatment system will then proceed according to the design once approved by DOE, EPA, and DEC.

The ROD agreement follows several public participation activities held by DOE and BNL to obtain input on the Operable Unit VI investigation and potential cleanup approaches. Two information sessions and a public meeting on Operable Unit VI issues were held at the Lab in the fall of 1996, and another information session was held in the summer of 2000. These events generated comments and concerns that have been made part of the public record. The ROD contains a Responsiveness Summary, which documents public comments on the proposed remedial actions and DOE responses to those comments.

Environmental remediation at BNL is carried out under requirements of the federal Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act of 1980, commonly known as the Superfund Law. BNL is on the Superfund list due to past operations that have resulted in soil and groundwater contamination. Remediation work is conducted under the framework of an interagency agreement among the U.S. Department of Energy, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and N.Y. State Department of Environmental Conservation. The Department of Energy owns the BNL property and oversees and pays for all cleanup costs at the site.

For more information, contact: 
John Carter, U.S. Department of Energy - Brookhaven Area Office, (631) 344-5195 
Ken White, Brookhaven National Laboratory, (631) 344-4423

Copies of the Operable Unit VI Record of Decision are available for review at:

Longwood Public Library 
800 Middle Country Rd 
Middle Island, NY 
(631) 924-6400

Mastics-Moriches-Shirley Public Library
301 William Floyd Parkway 
Shirley, NY 
(631) 399-1511

BNL Research Library 
Building 477A 
Upton, NY 
(631) 344-3483

U.S. EPA, Region II Library 
290 Broadway 
New York, NY 
(212) 637-4296