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Ithaca Enviro. Firm Says Petroleum Spill Never Fully Cleaned


ITHACA (WENY)-- An Ithaca environmental database firm Toxics Targeting is accusing a pipeline company of not cleaning up a petroleum spill that happened decades ago. But Dominion Pipeline, who owns the land, says New York State never said they had an obligation to clean it up. Walter Hang of Toxics Targeting talked to the media today about an unknown petroleum spill which occurred decades ago. When the DEC Investigated the spill in the 90's, Hang says they didn't meet standards when cleaning it up.

According to documents obtained by Hang, the unknown petroleum spill was discovered in 1998 by then pipeline owner CNG at their Ellis Hallow Creek Site in Ithaca. While only a gallon of oil was discovered, it was determined the problem was a lot bigger.

"When they initially saw the pollution, they said it was a gallon, but then when they subsequently investigated it, they dug out hundreds of tons of contaminated dirt, thousands of gallons of polluted groudnwater, but they didn't get it all," Hang says.

According to documents obtained by Hang, the spill contaminated wetlands on Ellis Hollow Creek road, which drains into Cascadilla Creek, a tributary to Cayuga Lake. When the DEC investigation and cleanup closed in 2000, Hang says it was not properly cleaned up all the way. Regional Spill Engineer for the DEC Richard Brazelle stated in an email to Hang the cleanup did not meet the standards.

"We knew that the contamination didn't meet the applicable standards. The Department of Conservation publically stated that these historic dumping problems had been fully cleaned up in strict compliance with state standards, and that is simply not true," Hang explains.

Currently the land is owned by Dominion Transmissions. Under the Dominion New Market Pipeline project, the company plans to expand the pipelines. According to Dominion Transmissions spokesperson Frank Mack, he says the project was approved by the Federal Energy Regulation Committee after their almost two year evaluation.

Mack released this statement in response to Hang's accusations: "Dominion Transmission has no outstanding site remediation or clean-up projects in New York State, as highlighted on the NYSDEC's Spill Incidents Database Search website."

Hang says he plans to send multiple letters to Governor Cuomo asking him to get the DEC to reopen the investigation into the matter.