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Toxics Targeting in the News

Clinton West cleanup debated

The message was loud and clear, state officials said: neighbors of Clinton West Plaza want the site cleaned to the highest residential standard -- not the restricted commercial standard currently proposed.

The state Department of Environmental Conservation hosted a meeting Wednesday night to explain and answer questions about its draft cleanup plan for Clinton West. Historic leaks of dry-cleaning fluid left a pool of contaminated groundwater at the southwest corner of the property, between Clinton West Laundry and homes along North Titus Avenue.

CU sends animal waste to city sewers

ITHACA -- An accidental release at Cornell University on Friday morning sent 4,300 gallons of digested animal carcass waste into the city's sewer system.

Cornell asserts that the treated waste was neither infectious nor hazardous, and the city's Superintendent of Public Works said he didn't expect the waste to cause problems at the municipally owned Ithaca Wastewater Treatment plant -- though Cornell does not have a permit to discharge to Ithaca's plant.

Cayuga Heights fixes sewage-discharge issues found in EPA investigation

An unannounced spot check by the federal Environmental Protection Agency found that the Village of Cayuga Heights' wastewater treatment plant was out of compliance with some regulations tied to its discharge permit -- though within acceptable limits on what the plant discharged to Cayuga Lake.

The EPA conducted the check last October, but sent the results of its inspection to the village just last week. The village provided the documents to this newspaper Wednesday in response to a Freedom Of Information Law request.

Natural gas quest: Cayuga Heights won't accept drilling waste

Cayuga Heights has no plans to accept gas drilling wastewater in the foreseeable future, Mayor Jim Gilmore said Tuesday.

"Not in the near future, and based on what we know today, not even in the distant future. But I think it's a subject we'll probably have to revisit. Probably the industry will force us to," Gilmore said. "Already in the last couple months I've had private entities come to me and talk about processing drill water and I told them we're not in the business of accepting drill water at this time."

No word from state on Ithaca Gun funding

Three months after work halted at Ithaca Gun, there's still no word about when or if demolition debris piles will be removed, though the developer is still eager to move forward on redevelopment plans.

In August, the developers behind the proposal to demolish the gun factory and replace it with high-end condos announced that because of cleanup cost overruns, they didn't have the money to pay their contractors, and work stopped.

Pollution Patrol

The southern shelf of Cayuga Lake is polluted. It has been polluted for decades.

Swimming has been forbidden at Stewart Park since 1962, when a child drowned because he could not be found when he went under in the silt-laden water. The Cornell Lake Source Cooling project has been in operation since 2000. Local environmentalists have identified the LSC project as a significant contributor to the pollution of the south end of Cayuga Lake, and they want the project either shut down or modified to eliminate or ameliorate its purported effects.

DEC: Lake Source Cooling may hurt Cayuga

Cornell questions validity of state analysis

ITHACA - Lake Source Cooling may be negatively impacting water quality in southern Cayuga Lake, the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation said in a letter to Cornell University this week.

Sprinklers installed at demolition site

In response to concerns about dust from Ithaca Gun, sprinklers have been installed over stockpiled demolition debris on the site.

Several members of the Community Advisory Group (CAG) for the project have repeatedly asked for more dust suppression, arguing that potentially contaminated material could be blowing into the neighborhood.
The city and the state Department of Environmental Conservation have responded that the four air monitors around the perimeter of the site are ensuring that neighbors are safe.

Gun Factory Clean-Up Site Raises Issues

The scene enclosed by the chain link and barbed wire fence surrounding the 2.1 acre property at 121-125 Lake Street represents your typical demolition site – save for a few transformers leaking dielectric fluid, federally-mandated aerosol lead monitors stationed around the perimeter and signs that read: “Danger: Asbestos, Cancer and Lung Disease Hazard. Authorized Personnel Only."

Wastewater may not have met standards

Cayuga Heights says there was no violation

Cayuga Heights may have violated its own law in accepting gas-drilling wastewater that exceeded standards established to protect its treatment plant and Cayuga Lake.

Meanwhile, a regional engineer from the state Department of Environmental Conservation told the village it was OK to continue accepting the waste without a completed study of what kinds of wastewater came to the plant. DEC policy - reaffirmed in a December 2008 memo - requires such analyses before a plant accepts gas-drilling waste.