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DEC releases plan to address Glenville pollution

DEC releases plan to address Glenville pollution

Public meeting set
DEC releases plan to address Glenville pollution
The off-site contamination was discovered in 2006, during testing related to the sale of what is now Lowe's property.
Photographer: NED CAMPBELL

GLENVILLE -- The state Department of Environmental Conservation has released a plan to address a plume of groundwater contamination spreading along the west side of Freeman's Bridge Road from a former chemical storage site.

The plan -- with an estimated price tag of $16 million -- proposes using reactive barriers to halt and neutralize the chemical plume, which is spreading southward from the former Kenco Chemicals Co. site at 107 Freeman's Bridge Road. The plume has spread a half-mile to the south, roughly as far as Sunnyside Road, which is the nearest residential area.

DEC, which considers the pollution a significant threat to human health or the environment, will hold a public meeting on the proposed remediation plan at 7 p.m. on March 14 at the Glenville Senior Center, 32 Worden Road.

The state's plan includes injecting chemical or biological materials into the groundwater to reduce chemical concentrations, as well as installation of chemically reactive underground barriers along Sunnyside Road and along an unnamed creek bordering the site. Such barriers typically contain iron, limestone or carbon, which filter contaminants.

There will also be long-term monitoring of the site, DEC said.

The Kenco site was used from the mid-1960s through the late 1990s for distribution of bulk chemicals, including those used in dry cleaning and swimming pools. Over an unknown period of time, an estimated 9,000 gallons of perchlorothylene, commonly known as PCE, was released from the site.

An earlier cleanup addressed most of the contamination on the site itself. The off-site contamination was discovered in 2006, during testing related to the sale of what is now the Lowe's Home Improvement property.

After Kenco sold the property, buildings on the 0.86-acre site were used for general storage until 2016, when they were demolished. Foundation slabs remain.

Long-term exposure to PCE has been linked to nervous system damage, cancer and reproductive problems. It breaks down over time into other chemicals that also have potentially toxic effects; those chemicals have also been found in DEC's sampling of the contaminated area.

The state, in 2014, provided about $1.3 million in funding to extend public water to 112 homes that are in the path of the plume, on Sunnyside Road or surrounding streets. That project is largely complete and is expected to conclude in the spring.

The water project was the most important thing for the town, said Town Supervisor Chris Koetzle.

"Getting them on water was critical," he said. "Making sure our residents have safe water was critically important."

The total cost of the cleanup -- including completed on-site work, the water line and the pending off-site cleanup -- will be around $40 million, Koetzle said.

"I think DEC has done a phenomenal job," he said.

The cleanup is being paid for from the state's Superfund program, under which the state pays and later seeks to collect a reimbursement from parties responsible for pollution.

Once the cleanup is complete, Koetzle hopes the property -- next to railroad tracks and in a commercial section of Freeman's Bridge Road -- will be redeveloped.

"Once it's clean, it has a potential for development," he said.

In addition to holding the March 14 meeting, state officials will take written comments through March 30. Comments will be evaluated before DEC comes up with a "record of decision" that will put a final cleanup plan in place. Comments may be addressed to DEC project manager Chris O'Niell, at [email protected], or DEC Division of Environmental Remediation, 1130 North Westcott Road, Schenectady, N.Y., 12306.

Project documents are available for public review at the Glenville Public Library on Glenridge Road.

Reach Gazette reporter Stephen Williams at 395-3086, [email protected] or @gazettesteve on Twitter.

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