Ralph Ruggiero’s well water on Sunnyside Road isn’t contaminated, and he’s hoping to keep it that way.
At a public forum Wednesday at the Glenville Municipal Center, Ruggiero asked Christopher O’Neill of the state Department of Environmental Conservation if the planned remediation of a .86-acre contaminated waste site on Freemans Bridge Road would push a contaminated groundwater plume further south toward his property and those of his neighbors.
The plume has already migrated 6/10 of a mile south from the former Kenco Chemical Co. site at 107 Freemans Bridge Road, affecting some of the area’s wells, but has not crossed Sunnyside Road.
Ruggiero seemed satisfied with O’Neill’s response.
“Actually, we envision just the opposite would happen,” said O’Neill, the project manager. “The source is continuing to provide contamination to go down further south toward the Sunnyside Road neighborhood, so by attacking the source, getting rid of that, the availability of the contamination to even migrate is tremendously reduced, if not eliminated.”
O’Neill also told residents that their wells would be tested again in May. Ruggiero’s well was last tested more than one year ago. A water line extension is being built to serve about 100 residents in the area, a project set for 2016 completion.
Ruggiero was one of about 50 residents at the Wednesday night forum where O’Neill outlined the details of the planned $20.5 million remediation of the former Kenco site, which stored chemicals from the mid-1960s into the 1990s. Among the contaminants is tetrachloroethene, a common dry cleaner and degreaser solvent and known carcinogen. The PCE-contanimated soil and groundwater totals more than 9,000 gallons, according to the DEC.
The DEC plans to clean up the site through thermal treatment of the contaminated subsurface soil and groundwater and vapor collection, an approach chosen over methods such as capping the contaminated area and treating the soil with chemicals. This method requires energy to heat the soil and ground water, but unlike other methods, there is no dewatering and also no chemical injection or soil handling, which produces odors.
“The key to thermal treatment is the soil and groundwater standards are actually achievable, and in a reasonable timeframe, compared to the other technologies or approaches we looked at,” O’Neill said.
Before the thermal treatment takes place, the ground will be excavated to access the subsurface soil. The property’s existing warehouse building and other on-site structures will also be demolished. A creek that runs along the railroad tracks near the site and brings water through the contaminated property — via an underground pipeline that used to connect to an above-ground storage tank — will also be temporarily rerouted.
O’Neill said the remediation work could take about three years, and will start once some legal issues are resolved, which could take several months. The DEC is in the process of determining whether past owners of the site can be made to cover some of the remediation costs before Superfund dollars are committed to the project.
O’Neill said there have been four or five companies involved with the site since the 1950s, but the exact date of the contamination is unknown.
“All those people are potentially responsible, and that’s what the lawyers have to figure out — who they can talk to, who’s still around, who has assets, who doesn’t,” he said.