Soil contaminated in the 1800s is the focus of a cleanup plan announced by the state for the site of a former manufactured gas plant in Gloversville.
The state Department of Environmental Conservation is accepting public comment on the proposal to replace soil and monitor groundwater at the site at 7 Broadway, where the predecessor to National Grid operated a manufactured gas plant from 1846 to 1900.
The site, one-fifth of an acre in size, used to have a gas works on it, but the buildings were removed long ago and the property’s last use was for a lumberyard up until the 1980s, according to a fact sheet distributed Wednesday.
Hundreds of manufactured gas plants dotted New York state’s landscape from the mid-1800s to mid-1900s. They left a mess in the ground, leading to a manufactured gas plant program the state DEC considers one of the most aggressive in the country.
There are currently agreements or orders involving National Grid and five other utilities with plans to clean up 222 remaining sites, according to DEC.
Today, the site of the former plant off Broadway in Gloversville consists only of grass and gravel parking.
An investigation there found a list of contaminants in the soil including coal tar, benzene, toluene, xylene, fluorene, naphthalene and other chemicals, according to DEC.
Coal tar was also found underneath Broadway roughly 4 to 7 feet below the ground and 20 feet from the site of the plant.
The contamination poses limited risk to the public. The site is accessible, but the chemicals are below ground. Groundwater contamination is not considered an issue in terms of human exposure, either, because the city has a municipal water supply.
Several steps are planned for the cleanup, including:
• Removal and treatment of approximately 450 cubic yards of soil. Clean fill would replace it.
• Buildings, pavement or sidewalks would be required as a “site cover” before commercial use of the site would be allowed.
• A deed restriction would be established to ensure the property is used only for commercial and industrial purposes, not residences.
• A site management plan will detail any restrictions in use and steps required in the event soil is removed in the future.
• A groundwater monitoring plan will gauge the effectiveness of cleanup.
•u A soil vapor monitor for any buildings developed in the future will gauge whether vapors from the contaminants are making it into the buildings.
Documents detailing plans are being kept at the Gloversville Public Library at 58 E. Fulton St.
Public comment is being accepted through Oct. 18.
People who wish to comment are asked to send correspondence to Scott Deyette, state Department of Environmental Conservation, Division of Environmental Remediation, 625 Broadway, Albany, NY 12233. Comments can also be sent via email to firstname.lastname@example.org.