Cleanup begins at contaminated Norwich site

Cleanup begins at contaminated Norwich site

Source: http://www.thedailystar.com, January 30, 2018
By: Whitney Bashaw

The state Department of Environmental Conservation began preliminary cleanup to a 3-acre Superfund site a half-mile north of the center of Norwich on Monday.

Nine different contaminants are present at the site. The soil, soil vapor and groundwater of the Lee Avenue Railroad Site, designated as a State Superfund Project, were contaminated. Drinking water is not affected, DEC public records state, as the area is served by a public water supply.

The DEC determined the contamination was a result of waste disposal practices from the former Hercules, Inc. plant on Lee Avenue, located adjacent to the parcel. The plant manufactured electronics and aircraft engine parts.

According to Stephanie Webb, an official at the DEC, Hercules mobilized equipment at the site on Monday. Excavation of the contaminated soil began Tuesday.

Norwich City Mayor told The Daily Star that ABSCOPE Environmental Inc., of Canastota, has been contracted for the cleanup operations and is working for the DEC. The City of Norwich is not involved in the project.

The first part of the clean up, the soil excavation, is slated to take three weeks, Webb said. The next step, treatment of contaminated groundwater, will take up to six weeks. Methods of the cleanup operation and excavation are outlined in the March 2017 Record of Decision, available online.

DEC records state that people will come into contact with groundwater and soil contamination only if they dig below the surface. Tests conducted by the DEC concluded that groundwater contamination has migrated approximately 3,500 feet from the site to the east and southeast, in the direction of groundwater flow. The soil vapor, which can affect indoor air quality, is the subject to ongoing testing.

“All site activities continue to be undertaken with rigorous oversight by DEC to protect public health and the environment,” Webb told The Daily Star in an email.

The railroad that borders the site to the east has been inactive since 2006. According to DEC records, there are plans to rehabilitate the tracks for use.

The project details, as well as a list of the contaminants, are available on the DEC’s website (www.dec.ny.gov/cfmx/extapps/derexternal/haz/details.cfm?pageid=3&progno=709014) and Guernsey Memorial Library on 3 Court Street in Norwich, the repository for public records regarding the site cleanup.

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