The state Department of Environmental Conservation is looking to tighten rules governing the handling of hazardous materials releases at the Momentive Performance Materials plant in Waterford.
DEC officials said no significant changes in Momentive’s hazardous materials handling operations are being proposed in a new draft permit, though some new conditions are being proposed for dealing with spills or releases.
The silicone manufacturing plant on Hudson River Road has a history of chemical releases into the air and water, though most were minor. There have been no recent major incidents, but there have been past instances when air discharges required brief closings of routes 4 and 32. Some chemicals have gone into streams.
DEC announced Wednesday it is taking public comment on renewal of a draft hazardous waste handling permit for the facility.
A meeting to take public comment will be held at 6 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 8, at Waterford Town Hall.
A number of hazardous and toxic chemicals are used in the silicone manufacturing operation, which is spread across 800 acres in Waterford and Halfmoon and was previously owned by General Electric. About 1,000 people work at the site.
Momentive, headquartered in Columbus, Ohio, is in the process of emerging from Chapter 11 bankruptcy, but said it wants to protect the environment.
“Momentive is dedicated to protecting human health and the environment. We are committed to complying with all environmental regulations as well as minimizing wastes to the extent feasible and reducing emissions,” Momentive spokesman Kevin Lowery said in a statement.
Waterford town Supervisor John E. Lawler said there have been no recent issues with discharges from the Waterford plant. “They have some new management and communications with the community have greatly improved as a result,” he said.
According to DEC, the draft permit calls for improving secondary containment systems and fire protection and reducing chemical storage capacity. New spill-reporting requirements are also being planned.
The draft permit would require Momentive to post $26 million in financial assurance, up from $18.8 million currently. In a fact sheet, DEC says the higher amount is needed because the period during which on-site hazardous materials landfills must be monitored has been extended.
Also, DEC said the company would be required under the draft renewal to investigate nearby tributaries of the Hudson River to determine whether past discharges that exceeded state limits resulted in any contamination of tributary sediments. If they did, DEC said, some remediation could be required.
Written comments may be directed to Marc Migliore, regional permit administrator, NYSDEC Region 5 sub-office, 232 Golf Course Road, Warrensburg NY 12885. Comments may also be emailed to Info.R5@dec.ny.gov. Written comments are due by Oct. 20.
Copies of the permit are available at momentive
waterford.com, or in print at the Waterford Public Library and DEC offices in Albany and Warrensburg.