HUDSON – The county Environmental Management Council (EMC) agreed this week to form a smaller committee that will meet with representatives from the federal Environmental Protection Agency to discuss the treated water from the Dewey Loeffel Superfund site being released into the Valatie Kill.
The committee was suggested to the EMC by Board of Supervisors Chairman Pat Grattan (Kinderhook) who told the environmental council that the Board of Supervisors is “willing to commit some of our resources to help the EMC” in its efforts to get the word out about water issues in the county.
Mr. Grattan also suggested at the EMC’s regular meeting Monday, March 24 that the council ask a member of the Kinderhook Lake residents’ group to be part of the committee. Fran Martino, who created the Greater Stockport Creek Watershed Alliance, was at the meeting and said she’d sit on the committee.
The Dewey Loeffel Superfund Site is in the Rensselaer County Town of Nassau. A water treatment plant was recently built on the site, which was an industrial waste dump used by major companies in the 1950s through the late-1960s. GE and a company now called SI, two of the main polluters, paid for the treatment plant under an agreement with the EPA, which is monitoring the project. The plant has been release several tanks of treated water into the Valatie Kill since January and the EPA as posted the test results of testing done on those tanks on their website.
The stream runs close to the Superfund site and flows southward into Kinderhook Lake and then Kinderhook Creek.
Mr. Grattan and members of the council attended a meeting in Kinderhook last month at which the EPA talked about the clean-up process. “The EPA is being truthful,” said Mr. Grattan of the information he has received from the agency. Mr. Grattan said he talked to EPA Project Manager Ben Conetta at the meeting and afterward. “They are more than willing to come here and report to us once a month,” he told the EMC.
Stuyvesant Supervisor Ron Knott was also at the EMC meeting and said he’d been in contact with Jeff Smith, owner of a local well drilling company who is also involved in the Empire State Water Well Driller’s Association. He said Mr. Smith is willing to hold an information session for residents about their well water.
EMC Chair Ed Simonsen called the offer from Mr. Smith “an opportunity.” Other board members talked about the many people who came to the EPA meeting on the Dewey Loeffel site and hoped that having an information session on water would also be well attended.
After Mr. Grattan and Mr. Knott left the meeting, some board members discussed asking the Board of Supervisors for support for a countywide survey of water resources and developing a source water plan. The EMC believes it can find grant money to help support a water study though it may require matching funds from local sources.
“This is a step in the right direction,” said Board Member Michael O’Hara.
The EMC was created by the Board of Supervisors in 1974 to offer advice “on present and proposed methods of using, protecting, and conserving the environment for the benefit of all people,” according to the council’s website. The members of the council represent the 18 towns and the City of Hudson and are appointed for two-year terms.
The next EMC meeting is Monday, April 28 at 7 p.m. in the 1st floor meeting room at 401 State Street in Hudson.
To contact reporter Emilia Teasdale email .