This project is designed to protect the Genesee, an important natural and economic resource for
Yes, the system is designed to run year-round. During winter months, water levels will be raised in the wetland treatment cells to prevent them from freezing all the way to the bottom. As long as some water continues to move through the cells, the root mat of the plants will continue to do their work of breaking down any dissolved petroleum compounds in the water.
The orange staining results from naturally occurring iron in the water, and is unrelated to any residual contamination on the site. This staining is much like the iron staining that can be seen around sink or bathtub drains in areas with high iron content in drinking water. The first pond in the wetland treatment system is designed to knock out much of the iron in the water before the water moves on to other cells for further treatment.
When the system first began operation, occasional odors were generated as water emerged from the piping system into the cascade aerator at the top of the system. Atlantic Richfield Company installed a biofilter to reduce any potential odors that might occur in the future.
BP never operated the facility in Wellsville. Sinclair operated the refinery from the time of its purchase in the 1920s until its closure in 1959. Atlantic Richfield Company became responsible for the site when it merged with Sinclair in 1969 and conducted much of the early cleanup work here, including rebuilding the landfill, installing groundwater treatment systems and operating a system to remove and destroy underground petroleum vapors in the 1990s. In 2000, AR became a BP-affiliated company and has continued to move forward to clean groundwater and protect the Genesee River.