Port City Looks To Halt Discharge Of Contaminated Groundwater

OSWEGO, NY – The Port City is taking action to address the issue of contaminated groundwater being discharged from the Excess Flow Management Facility on West First Street.

At Monday night’s Administrative Services Committee meeting, Tony Leotta, city engineer, requested authorization for a change order to the general contractor regarding the Consent Decree Project, regarding the discharge.

The project site is contaminated with trichloroethene (TCE), which violates NYS ECL Article 17-0701(a) and must cease or be treated prior to discharge into the sewer system.

The cost was assembled by GHD Consulting Engineers.

The amount is $25,841.80 to cover the cost of estimated treatment period of six weeks.

If the treatment continues beyond six weeks, it could be an additional $2.110 per week, Leotta said. If it is completed in less than six weeks, there would be a reduction of cost in the amount of $2,110 per week, he added.

“We believe that the contaminated ground water source is the Flexo Wire site,” Leotta told the councilors.

That site is currently under an environmental remediation program, according to Mary Vanouse, community development director.

Last spring, the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation notified the city that the Phase II environmental testing and mitigation at the former Flexo Wire site, 68 W. First St., required additional testing, according to Vanouse.

“In that agreement, the city and the DEC agreed that the DEC would cover 90 percent of the costs on the Flexo Wire site itself and the city would take care of 10 percent,” she said. “The DEC would take care of 100 percent of the cleanup costs and testing off site. So if it is shown that the contamination is indeed from the Flexo Wire site, the DEC may be obligated to pick up 100 percent of the cost.”

Vapor testing off-site was also required to follow up on test results that were recorded in 2010. The site investigation identified an off-site groundwater plume of chlorinated solvents and an off-site chlorinated solvent vapor plume potentially impacting several offsite residential structures.

The DEC offered to pay 100 percent of the off-site testing.

“Are we paying by the gallon or strictly by the week?” Councilor Fran Enwright asked.

“By the week,” Leotta replied.

Therefore, the councilor reasoned, if there is a heavy rain and a large runoff, the city wouldn’t be facing more liability.

The committee sent the request to the full council for consideration.