You are here

Contamination Concerns: Ithaca Development


UPDATE: The City of Ithaca Zoning Board has voted to table any further development approvals until the board can review more information regarding the recent environmental concerns. The Stone Quarry Apartment complex will be back on the board's agenda next meeting, August 26th.

ITHACA (WENY) -- A 35 unit apartment complex it's is in last stage of approval before breaking ground; however information brought to light by environmentalist may be causing some push back to the plans.

Ithaca Neighborhood Housing Services and PathStone Development hope to have the complex done by late Spring; however, Walter Hang of Toxics Targeting says it would sit on top of contaminated soil.

"There are patrolium odors there are chemical odors there's stained soil," said Hang "We know there's a lot of contaminiation at this site. Probably at mimnimum 100,000 cubic feet of polluted dirt."

Hang is President of Toxins Targetting, a private organization that collects data about known or potential toxic sites across New York.

Reports he got by submitting a Freedom of Information Act request show the site is contaminated by lead, petrolium, and cancer causign pollutants.

"There are whole variety of compounds that can increase cancer risks that are known to be toxic to humans," said Hang. "The problem is they haven't been cleaned up."

Meantime, Paul Mazzarella, the executive director of Ithaca Neighborhood Housing Services says that they knew about the contamination two years ago and they're taking proper steps in addressing it.

"We believbre that there is maybe a very small amount of contaminants in the ground the site," said Mazarella.

Mazarella said the property on Spencer Road in Ithaca has been used since the 1960's for automobile services, repairs, storage, and a junk yard.

"So it's probable, although we don't know for sure that what we're seeing there are the remnants of some low-level of leaking tanks or leaking transmission, a small spill," said Mazarella.

He says there's only about a dump truck worth of soil that's contaminated, or about an area 10 feet by 10 feet.

The first steps of construction in September will be removing any soil and groundwater that poses a risk.