The federal government has agreed to clean up the former Scotia Navy Depot property, clearing the way for its redevelopment, Schenectady County officials announced today.
The agreement caps a seven-year effort to get the federal government to address the problem. Now, the transfer can begin of 65 acres from the federal government’s landlord, the General Services Administration, to the county.
At issue is a groundwater plume containing trichloroethylene (TCE), a degreaser used during repair and assembly of trucks and other vehicles at the former military facility. It has been linked to cancer and other health hazards. The plume is located within a portion of the Great Flats Aquifer Protection Zone near the Mohawk River, according to a press release from the county.
In March 2010, the state Department of Environmental Conservation outlined the problem but it was not until now that GSA signed the clean-up plan. The proposal calls for installing a barrier beneath the surface of the depot at a cost of about $3 million to $4 million to stop and break down the TCE plumes.
County officials were pleased that the agreement has been signed.
“This will not only protect our environment, but will boost our economic development efforts in the Glenville Business and Technology Park and Schenectady County,” said Judy Dagostino, chairwoman of the Schenectady County Legislature, in a press release.
“The TCE plume must be stopped and the federal government has finally owned up to its responsibility to fix the environmental damage caused by the former Navy operation,” said Cathy Gatta, a member of the County Legislature representing Glenville and Niskayuna and a member of the Schenectady County IDA, in a statement. “This is a great day for residents of Glenville who want to see this property cleaned up and put back on the tax rolls.”
Ray Gillen, Commissioner of Economic Development and Planning for Schenectady County also said it is an important step forward.
“Job one was protecting the environment and getting the Depot cleaned up. The next step is trying to redevelop the parcel for new jobs and new tax base.”
Schenectady County officials thanked U.S. Rep. Paul Tonko, Sen. Charles Schumer, Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, Gov. Andrew Cuomo and DEC Commissioner Joe Martens for their help in getting a final agreement signed.
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