VALATIE–Councilwoman Patsy Leader told her fellow board members at their meeting Monday night that she attended a community group meeting in the Town of Nassau with a representative from the federal Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) about clean-up at a property near the Dewey Loeffel Superfund site.
Ms. Leader said she attended the meeting at the request of Town Supervisor Pat Grattan and because she is familiar with the issue. The Dewey Loeffel landfill was a dumping ground for an estimated 46,000 tons of toxic waste from companies like GE for years in the 1950s and ‘60s. The state took initial steps to contain the chemicals and in 2011, the EPA declared the landfill a federal Superfund Site. A settlement agreement was reached with GE and SI to build a $2.5-million water treatment plant on the site and treated water from the plant has been released into the Valatie Kill since early 2014.
The Valatie Kill flows through parts of the Towns of Chatham and Kinderhook and into Kinderhook Creek, which empties into the Hudson River at Stockport.
Last summer, the EPA held an informational meeting in Nassau about clean-up of soil at Dewey Loeffel. According to a press release from the EPA in July of 2018, GE “will remove contaminated soil and sediment, replace it with clean backfill, restore the stream channel, and re-plant trees and shrubs” at the Superfund site.
Also at that meeting, the EPA discussed the formation of a community advisory group (CAG) for the site. According the EPA, “A CAG is made up of members of the community and is designed to serve as the focal point for the exchange of information among the local community and EPA, the state regulatory agency, and other pertinent federal agencies involved in cleanup of the Superfund site.”
More recently, a story published in the Times Union in early April reported that more toxic waste was found at the property owned by the family of Dewey Loeffel, at 5525 County Route 203 near Sweet Crossings Road in Nassau. The Valatie Kill runs nearby the property.
The story, (“Toxins found on Loeffel family property”) says that acting on a tip, EPA investigators found PCBs, carcinogenic industrial solvents and other chemicals contaminating the family property of Mr. Loeffel, who ran the nearby landfill. The discoveries included a buried 10,000-gallon chemical tank as well as a PCB-tainted pond and trichloroethylene (TCE), a known human carcinogen, in groundwater.
At the Kindehrook Town Board meeting May 6, Ms. Leader said she met with CAG and a representative from the EPA to discuss the cleanup. She said that representatives from the towns of Nassau and Schodack were also at the meeting and that they want to put up water towers to deal with contained wells in the area. But she said the issue is: “Who’s going to pay for it?” She pointed out that many of the property owners who were affected by the landfill have already received settlements from the companies that did the dumping. But she stressed they are still having issues with contamination.
The Times Union story reported that after the chemicals were found on the Dewey Loeffel family property that Nassau Town Supervisor David Fleming said that a drinking water well was found to be contaminated with TCE. Other near-by wells were tested and the water was safe to drink, the story reports.
“It’s a big, big issue and it’s getting worse,” Ms. Leader said at the board meeting.
She said CAG is planning more meetings in the future.
Ed Simonsen, the Town of Kinderhook’s representative on the county Environmental Management Council was at the Town Board meeting to tell the board about the newly published county Natural Resource Inventory, a reference document that summarizes and analyzes information about the physical, biological and cultural aspects of the natural environment that shape county’s landscape.
He said of the Dewey Loeffel issue, “It shows what happens when we don’t watch out” where companies put their waste.
Also at the meeting:
• Ms. Leader talked about reaching out to the state about repairs needed on state Route 203 from the Village of Valatie to Niverville. Ms. Leader said she has talked to the state Department of Transportation and to Assemblyman Jake Ashby (R-107th). She said she was told that repairs for the road were “taken off the list” and later that funding was found in state “winter repair funds” but that the road is still in need of repair. She told board members that they must keep reminding the state of the poor condition of the road, saying “If you get off their case, they won’t do it”
• The board authorized Town Attorney Andy Howard to write a letter to the state to ask if the state would approve making the buildings at Volunteer Park into a children’s museum. Mr. Howard said that the state placed regulations on how the buildings can be used when the structures were transferred to the town. The two buildings are in the town park and have been closed for several years. He said the regulations include recreational and mental health uses. Mr. Howard said a group is interested in raising money to reopen them.
“Right now they are looking for a feasibility study,” said Ms. Leader of the town committee that is meeting to discuss the possible future of the buildings. But Mr. Howard said the state would need to approve the plan. He said of the state, “They take a hard-line on what is recreational.” He said the committee had looked into the history of the buildings, which were constructed in 1912 as a women’s prison
• The board passed a motion to review the town’s emergency management plan
• There are vacancies on the town Zoning Board of Appeals and the Board of Assessment Review. Mr. Grattan asked interested residents to contact the Town Board
• Ms. Leader announced that there will be a NYS CRPA-P (Certified Recovery Peer Advocate-Provisional) Certification training on May 13-15, May 16-17 and in June (online). The program is funded via the 2018 Opioid Crisis Grant. Apply at ourwellnesscollective.com or call 518 303-2725.
The next Town Board meeting will be Monday, June 3 at 7 p.m. in the Martin H. Glynn Municipal Building.
To contact reporter Emilia Teasdale email