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Ithaca Falls Overlook Clean-Up Complete-Critics Speak Out


Ithaca, NY (WENY) -- The DEC says toxin levels at the Ithaca falls overlook clean-up site meet the requirements for Restricted Residential Use -- including recreation.

As we've reported, the property was part of the former Ithaca Gun Factory, which manufactured guns in the city for 100 years.
It closed in 1986, but the area was left with remnants of lead and other contaminants.The D-E-C now says with the latest cleanup finished that levels within the area satisfy the requirements for Recreation on site.

But after 14 months of onsite clean-up, at least one local critic still believes that the Overlook is still polluted as well as the surrounding areas of the site.
Although the DEC has declared the site clean, the designated area will still remain under observation.

WENY News spoke with Gary Priscott of the DEC who was the Project and Property Manager of the site. He said that "there still will be periodic reviews of the site and monitoring of the site to make sure that conditions there don't change over time."

The DEC says that this clean-up did not include areas like the Ithaca Falls Gorge, and the Ithaca Gun Factory property--which still contain toxins.

He also says that he thinks "when people talk about the possibility of contamination remaining they are really talking about areas around the environmental restoration site, not on the environmental restoration site itself."

Local environmental researcher Walter Hang of Toxics Targeting, believes all three areas-including the overlook, is still highly polluted.
Hang has been researching this particular case for approximately 17 years.

He says that "you can see shotgun shell remnants you can see extensive contamination that was never removed and the problem is it is moving down from that overlook area into gorge trail are where people walk."

He also believes that the site boundaries designated do not account for the entirety of the overlook, saying "its very tricky because of the delineation of the site boundaries but the bottom line is Ithaca Falls, Ithaca Falls Overlook and Ithaca Gun Factory remain massively contaminated."