GRANVILLE — The state has extended its public comment period for an $8.31 million proposed cleanup of a former recycling plant that contaminated the ground with PCBs and heavy metals.
The state Superfund site at 24 county Route 26, also known as Church Street, was the former Katzman recycling and smelting facility, operating from 1949 to 2007, according to a state Department of Environmental Conservation fact sheet.
The facility used to accept auto parts, carburetors, chainsaws, heavy equipment, capacitors and other industrial parts. There had been an incinerator on the site, according to the DEC, and the southern end of the property had a waste pit.
The 20-acre parcel is listed on the State Registry of Inactive Hazardous Waste Sites and is considered a threat to public health or the environment, making a cleanup action required. The threats are from polychlorinated biphenyls, or PCBs, and metals including arsenic, cadmium and chromium. PCBs are considered a probable human carcinogen.
Granville Supervisor Matt Hicks said the DEC has been testing the site for the last several years, but he didn’t know about it until about two months ago.
“The site has been closed as a recycling area for decades, but I did not know that it has been sitting there dormant, that it was going to be contaminated and a Superfund site,” Hicks said.
He learned more at a public information meeting held on March 21, but only a few neighbors attended, and they didn’t know about the Superfund site either. They requested an extension of the public comment period, which was scheduled to end March 28.
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The DEC said it will now accept comments on the proposed cleanup until April 29.
The site isn’t visible from the road, other than a red gate fencing off the area. The closest neighbor to the pollution is Warner’s Auto, of the same address as the Superfund site.
The company declined to comment to The Post-Star, but Hicks said at the public meeting that a representative was concerned about her business’s drinking water, and staff drink bottled water.
An investigation showed PCBs were found in one groundwater test at levels higher than allowed, but off-site groundwater impacts were not expected. PCBs in the soil, however, were found as deep as 12 feet, and at levels as high as 6,600 parts per million. That’s compared to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s drinking water limit of 0.0005 parts per million.
In addition to testing the site since 2006, the state hired Precision Environmental Services in 2015 to conduct an interim remedial measure. The company dug as much as 3 feet deep and removed about 2,200 tons of PCB-laden soil, records show.
The state’s proposed remedial action includes the following, per DEC’s fact sheet:
- Excavation and off-site disposal of all soils that are greater than 1 part per million of PCBs in surface soil, and 10 parts per million in subsurface soil;
- A 1-foot soil cover, pavement or concrete slab so the site’s commercial zoning use may be taken advantage of in the future;
- The implementation of a health and safety plan, air-monitoring plan and long-term monitoring plan following remediation activities.
It is not clear when the proposed cleanup would start.