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Meetings set for Jenkinsville water issue

Community meeting via Zoom

Queensbury resident Noel Harding listens as his questions are answered by a panel of state environmental and health officials on Zoom during a meeting in April.

QUEENSBURY — The Town Board has scheduled two meetings to discuss the water contamination near the closed town landfill on Jenkinsville Road.

On May 17, the next regularly scheduled meeting, the board will discuss whether it or the state should run the investigation into the source of 1,4-dioxane, a probable human carcinogen that has contaminated the wells of 16 homes near the town landfill.

Then the Town Board will listen to the public on the topic at a meeting on June 7.

“This is an important decision that most immediately and directly affects our residents in the Jenkinsville area and may have financial consequences for the entire community,’’ said Town Supervisor John Strough in a statement. “We as a Town Board want a comprehensive assessment of the environmental issues. We will explore the options and ask our residents for their views before proceeding to the next step.’’

The 1,4-dioxane was first found in the landfill’s groundwater during routine testing by the state Department of Environmental Conservation last year. DEC then began testing residential drinking water wells in the general direction of groundwater flow, expanding the search as more wells tested positive for the contaminant.

Now DEC has reached the site characterization stage, in which it researches the history of the site and what might have been dumped there, does digging and other testing in search of the source of 1.4-dioxane, and eventually determines whether the contaminant is coming from the landfill. If not, DEC will move on to search nearby areas.

In a routine step, DEC officials asked the board if the town would run the site characterization investigation, with DEC oversight. If the town does not do it, DEC will, and could ask the town to repay the cost of that work if the source turns out to be in the town landfill. But the work is expected to cost about as much if the town does it, DEC officials said.

The main advantage, they said, is that the town could control the schedule of tests and other work. That’s often preferred by private companies who are still using the land that is being investigated, but the town’s landfill is closed.

Strough has emphasized that three other landfills are next to and across a road from the town landfill. He has repeatedly asked DEC to investigate those landfills, and last month DEC took samples from groundwater at each site. Results are expected by the end of the month. DEC officials said they could run simultaneous site characterization investigations if the results at the other landfills warrant it.

The May 17 and June 7 meetings will be held in person and broadcast through Zoom. Those who are unable to attend the June 7 meeting could send the Town Board comments in writing by emailing them to johns@queensbury.net or mailing them to the Queensbury Town Hall, 742 Bay Road, Queensbury, N.Y. 12804.

You can reach Kathleen Moore at 742-3247 or kmoore@poststar.com. Follow her on Twitter @ByKathleenMoore or at her blog on www.poststar.com.

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Related to this story

Noel Harding describes why he wants drinkable water. Kathleen Moore/Post-Star

On Monday, town Supervisor John Strough laid out his argument for why the town, rather than the state Department for Environmental Conservation, should investigate groundwater contamination found at the closed Jenkinsville landfill and nearby residential wells. On Tuesday, the DEC said it disagreed with the facts as Strough had described them.

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