Invisible remnants of the Alco locomotive plant are about to be removed to make way for a waterfront brimming with people.
Condos, restaurants and even a casino have been discussed for the site along Erie Boulevard.
But before people can move in, chlorine solvents from the plant’s years as a manufacturing facility must move out.
The largely empty site has chlorine solvents in the soil and groundwater. DEC spokesman Rick Georgeson said the solvents were typical manufacturing chemicals.
On Monday, DEC issued a proposed cleanup plan to make the area habitable for its next use.
The plan has been long awaited by the many groups that have worked to find a way to redevelop the site.
“This is another step forward,” said Metroplex Development Authority Chairman Ray Gillen, adding that the project is now well on its way.
The solvents may be partially destroyed by injecting a substrate into the ground to speed up the natural oxidation of the solvents, according to DEC’s plan.
Substrates that work on various contaminants include nutritional yeast, hydrogen peroxide and vegetable oil, according to DEC officials. They said the substrate for the Alco site hasn’t yet been determined.
But the contamination is so significant that soil must be removed from the site as well, according to DEC.
The agency plans to monitor the groundwater to gauge whether the injection worked.
The cleanup must be successful before developer Galesi Group can move on to the next phase of the project.
“They wouldn’t be allowed to live there if it wasn’t safe. That’s the whole goal of the remediation,” Georgeson said.
The plan hasn’t been finalized yet.
Galesi will implement the final cleanup plan, for which the company has received a grant. Galesi is also eligible for tax credits under the brownfield program, Gillen said.
The entire cleanup should be complete by the end of 2015, but most of the site will be clean by the end of 2014, DEC said.
It’s not yet clear what will be built on the site. Several people looking for casino locations have toured it, said David Buicko, chief operation officer of Galesi Group.
The site is nearly 60 acres, so there are plenty of options.
“I’ve been approached by people who want us to consider the site for a big-box store, more residential, a movie production studio,” Buicko said last week. “We have a great site here, and whether somebody wants to put a movie studio or a big-box store or a casino in, we’re interested if it helps Schenectady.”
The first phase of the project includes a national hotel chain, an upscale apartment complex, a block of condominiums, retail space, a banquet facility and a marina.
A bike path and other riverfront amenities are also in the works.