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Ithaca Solvent Pollution

Editorial: TCE hearing: Why are we here today?

Good morning Chairman Tom DiNapoli, Assemblywoman Barbara Lifton and the rest of the state Assembly Environmental Conservation Committee.

First, thank you for coming to town to hear testimony about local soil contamination issues, most notably the still growing investigation into the release of trichloroethene -- the now infamous substance called TCE -- into
the ground on the hillside overlooking the city of Ithaca's south side. The weight and the light this committee's public hearing will bring to this insidious public health threat is desperately needed.

A brief history of the Emerson Power Transmission site

1928 - 1983: Borg Warner owns the company and building on Aurora Street known as Morse Chain, which manufactures automotive components. Prior to 1983, Morse Industrial uses the solvent trichlorethene, or TCE, to degrease metal parts.

1983: The plant is purchased by Emerson and becomes Emerson Power Transmission.

1987: Investigations reveal TCE has leaked into soil and groundwater from an underground fire water reservoir on the property. Emerson reports the spill to the state Department of Environmental Conservation.

State to host contamination hearing

ITHACA -- Ken Deschere's rare throat cancer has been attributed to unknown origins. Diagnosed in 2003, Deschere has looked at his past and questioned what sources could have caused the mutation.

State committee to host hearing on local pollution

ITHACA -- Members of the state Assembly Environmental Conservation Committee will hold a public hearing in Ithaca later this month to examine the impact of soil and groundwater contamination on human health.

Editorial: Emerson, TCE and DEC Healthy cynicism prods government

More than a decade ago, experts from the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation labeled a swath of Ithaca's South Hill as a "Class 4" hazardous waste site.

In the jargon of environmental cleanup, "Class 4" essentially means "case closed." The conservation department decided that levels of chemicals that were spilled decades ago by the former Morse Chain plant were at levels that posed an insignificant risk.

Residents getting no satisfaction from state, Emerson

ITHACA -- With only one house between his home and the test zone, Rick Grossman has been pushing hard to have his family's Park Street residence examined for contamination that originated at the former Morse Chain plant. So far, all he has been told is that two monitoring wells are going in nearby.

Emerson to expand water testing

ITHACA -- Documents recently filed at the Tompkins County Public Library indicate that Emerson Power Transmission is adding two groundwater monitoring wells to the initially planned seven when construction begins next week.

Public meeting called to hear Emerson results

ITHACA -- The public will have two opportunities to learn more about testing and investigations concerning environmental pollutants from the Emerson Power Transmission site on Thursday.

DEC alters posture on Emerson

ITHACA -- The Department of Environmental Conservation has reclassified the Emerson Power Transmission factory cleanup site as a 'significant threat to the environment.'

The DEC changed the site from a Class 4 -- a site that has been properly closed but requires continued maintenance and/or monitoring -- to a Class 2.


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