Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Different Treatment?

Tonight's OD article on the New Hartford Scully Site cleanup contained an interesting statement:

While Lockheed Martin recently completed a $20 million environmental cleanup there, site uses for the 2.3-acre property will be limited only by town laws and zoning, said Stephen Litwhiler, a spokesman for the state Department of Environmental Conservation.

“We would have no restrictions for use,” Litwhiler said. “There is no contamination left.”

Hmm. This site, which was reportedly used for disposal of toxic wastes from other places, gets cleaned up to the point where no restrictions will be placed on future use, while the Bossert Site, which is in the middle of a densly populated residential neighborhood in West Utica, which site was used for manufacturing rather than intentional disposal of wastes, will have perpetual restrictions on reuse.
The City has placed a mulch cover over the soils at the site to prevent any dust migration. The site will continue to have controls in place to prevent any potential future health or environmental effects at the site: deed restrictions regardless of property ownership include limits on groundwater use, an approved "Soil Management Plan," maintenance of a protective cover, and a restriction of use of the site to industrial/commercial purposes.
Sixteen thousand tons of contaminated soil and debris were removed from the 6.9 Acre Bossert Site in Utica, according to DEC's official press release.

Over fifty-four thousand tons of soil were removed from the 2.3 acre Scully Site in New Hartford, according to Lockheed Martin's latest statement.

Perpetual restrictions on reuse are also the order for another Utica site, the Dredge Spoil Area along the canal, which is prime water front property.

These observations beg the question: Why the disparate treatment? DEC requires removal of almost three and a half times the material from a 2.3 acre site in New Hartford than it does from an almost 7 acre site in Utica. Cleanup of a dump in New Hartford results in no restrictions on future land reuse, while cleanups in Utica require permanent restrictions.

Must we speculate on the reasons?

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