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WATER CONCERNS

Glenville residents seek town water

Sunnyside homeowners wary of encroaching contamination

Friday, March 14, 2014
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WATER CONCERNS


Houses on Havenbrook Drive in Glenville are pictured on Thursday. Residents are concerned about contamination reaching their wells.
Photographer: Peter R. Barber
Houses on Havenbrook Drive in Glenville are pictured on Thursday. Residents are concerned about contamination reaching their wells.

A map that accompanied a previous version of this story incorrectly labeled the concentration of contaminants as milligrams per liter. The correct unit of measure was micrograms per liter.

Residents of Glenville’s Sunnyside Gardens housing development are petitioning to get on the town’s water supply as a contamination plume continues to inch its way south toward their private wells.

The contamination originated a mile north at 107 Freemans Bridge Road, site of the former Kenco Chemical Co., which handled swimming pool and dry cleaner chemicals there for about 40 years. Testing by the state Department of Environmental Conservation found elevated quantities of trichloroethene and known carcinogens tetrachloroethene and dichloroethene.

The contamination plume, discovered in 2006, has since spread south toward the Mohawk River despite several cleanup attempts. Data gathered from May 2011 to December 2013 show that the plume had spread as far south as Sunnyside Road. Most of the plume south of Sarnowski Drive is low concentration.

“We’ve been in constant contact with DEC and residents are rightfully concerned,” said town Supervisor Chris Koetzle. “Those wells may be contaminated some day, so we are working with the residents to bring them onto municipal water.”

Most residents in the area of the contamination plume already get their water from the town, which draws its supply from the Great Flats Aquifer. But the Sunnyside Gardens housing development, built along Havenbrook Drive off Sunnyside Road in the 1950s, has always used private wells for its water supply.

Koetzle said he was approached in November 2013 by a Sunnyside resident about bringing the development onto the town’s water. In recent weeks, he’s heard from others.

“East Glenville is so built up now, there is certainly supply and there’s a close enough supply line that we could do it fairly easily,” he said Thursday.

If a simple majority of residents in the proposed new water district want to move forward with the switch, Koetzle said, the town would hold a public hearing on the issue before passing a resolution to establish the new district.

Cleaning up the original contamination site, not to mention the spreading plume, has been no easy task for DEC. Former Glenville business owner Shaun Cole has owned the site since 1999 and provided DEC access to his property until November 2009, when he allegedly threatened staff to get off his property. A court order allowed DEC access to the property late last summer and Cole has been cooperating ever since, DEC officials said Thursday.

The federal Environmental Protection Agency monitored and cleaned the site from 2010 to 2012. During that time, it sampled about 120 private residential wells. DEC then offered additional sampling to about 60 residences and about half of them agreed. Based on those results, six “whole house” water treatment systems have been installed. DEC has been providing bottled water to another residence since January as it waits for parts to come in for another treatment system. A seasonal residence will begin receiving bottled water next week, DEC officials said, but only until a treatment system is installed.

DEC held a public meeting at Glenville Town Hall in 2010 to talk about the investigation of the contamination. DEC says it’s still investigating the “full nature and extent” of the contamination and is aiming to issue a draft cleanup plan for public comment by late summer.

 
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