About 65 acres of prime industrial property at the former Scotia Navy Depot will be cleaned up, freeing it for redevelopment, Schenectady County officials announced Wednesday.
The owner of the site, the federal General Services Administration, has signed an agreement with the state Department of Environmental Conservation to clean up the property along Route 5 at a cost of $3 million to $4 million. The federal government is picking up the expense.
The site was no longer used by the military shortly after the Vietnam War. At issue is a groundwater plume containing trichloroethylene, a degreaser used during the repair and assembly of trucks and other vehicles. The chemical has been linked to cancer and other health problems.
The plume is located within a portion of the Great Flats Aquifer Protection Zone near the Mohawk River, according to a news release from the county. The aquifer supplies drinking water for Schenectady and surrounding communities.
The proposal calls for installing a barrier beneath the surface of the depot to break down the plumes of contamination.
County officials have been trying to get the property cleaned up for seven years and were pleased that the agreement had been signed, following lobbying of federal and state officials.
County Legislator Cathy Gatta, D-Scotia, said she did not have a timetable for when work would begin, but said it would probably happen after the winter. The barrier being installed will filter out the TCE.
“Once the barrier is in and it’s proven to work, then the county can take over,” she said.
The federal government will have to continue to monitor the site for 30 years, according to Gatta.
Gatta said new businesses will help complement some of the existing companies already in the neighboring industrial park, including Adirondack Beverage. Adding manufacturing jobs is a priority.
“Those are the lifelong jobs that we are looking to attract, where people start in a company and they’re there for years,” she said.
Glenville town Supervisor Chris Koetzle said the news is just the latest in a long line of economic development successes.
“I think it’s a fantastic site for so many different uses based on its location, based on the services you get in that park,” he said.
The industrial park has both town water and sewer service.
“I think it would be a great location for some of these new high-tech startup firms to service GlobalFoundries or GE Battery. That whole cottage industry is what we’re trying to attract to Glenville,” Koetzle said.
The town is also potentially interested in a portion of the site for a new highway garage. Its current facility is old and cramped, Koetzle said, and the town is spending a lot of money replacing boilers and equipment. He said perhaps Glenville and Scotia could build a joint garage there.
David Buicko, chief operating officer of the Galesi Group, said the redevelopment would make a continuous stretch of industrial land. Galesi owns property on either side of the GSA parcel, which is between the former Scotia-Glenville Industrial Park and the former Corporations Park — now jointly called the Glenville Business and Technology Park.
There are 10 buildings on the GSA parcel that have been declared surplus property, according to Buicko.
“Those buildings are unpainted, unkempt, and a lot of them are structurally unsound,” he said.
Buicko said the proximity to Thruway Exit 26 and Interstate 890 is also a plus. It is probably going to be the most “shovel-ready site” in the Capital Region.
Ray Gillen, commissioner of economic development and planning for Schenectady County, agreed that it will be a more marketable site with the contamination issue settled.
“Getting the federal government to agree to the cleanup and pay for the cleanup removes a big cloud off the property,” he said.
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