EPA: cleanup effort unchanged by federal turmoil

Reprinted with permission from the Times Union

NASSAU — Cleanup efforts at the site of the former Dewey Loeffel landfill will not be affected by turmoil at the Environmental Protection Agency, officials told residents.

At an informational meeting on January 25, Nassau, EPA and General Electric officials updated townspeople on the investigation of contaminants at the site where GE, SI Group and Bendix Corp. dumped 46,000 tons of PCBs, solvents and other toxic chemicals from 1952 to 1970. The site was closed via court order in 1970.

EPA officials told the Times Union that because the agreement to clean up the designated Superfund site was done in a legal contract, it will not be affected by the decision by President Donald Trump’s administration to freeze EPA grants.

At the Dewey Loeffel site, investigators have been sampling soil for contaminants and monitoring wells since 2013, when EPA reached an agreement with GE and SI Group.

Tainted water leaking through the unlined landfill is being treated before it is discharged into Valatie Kill, a stream that drains into Kinderhook Lake.

Full results from the first phase of the investigation should be available on the EPA’s website in the next few weeks, with more tests scheduled over the next two years.

Some of the roughly 50 Nassau residents attending the update raised concerns with the methodology of some of the measurements they believe could dilute upcoming health risk assessments and underplay the threat of carcinogens.

Charles Sullivan, a retired state Department of Environmental Conservation attorney, questioned the depth at which samples were taken. He and others at the meeting say the agency and companies should test at shallower depths, where chemicals could more easily come into human contact and could spread through insects and the animals that eat them.

Residents also raised concerns with the standard minimum by which cancer-causing chemicals are determined to be health risks. Mr. Sullivan and others said they’d prefer the DEC’s more stringent range be applied.

To contact report Robert Downen email

Comments are closed.