Contamination Cleanup Work to Start at Goudey Station Near JC
Authorities say cleanup activities may begin within a few days at a former NYSEG generating plant in Westover.
New York State Electric and Gas constructed the coal-burning facility near Johnson City in 1917. Emissions from the plant, which operated for nearly a century, caused environmental concerns for nearby residents.
AES Corporation acquired the plant in 1999. It was closed in 2012. The property has been owned by a series of LLCs in recent years.
Although the facility has been dormant in recent years, new pollution problems have emerged. The state Department of Environmental Conservation was alerted to demolition work and dust emanating from the site on February 22.
When the agency learned of the unauthorized activity at the plant, it dispatched DEC police officers and spill responders to the site. Investigators with the Bureau of Environmental Crimes also were sent to determine what had occurred. The town of Union issued a stop-work order.
A DEC investigation found waste oil tanks located outside, along with areas of heavily-contaminated soil and petroleum-contaminated water in the basement of the building.
The agency and its contractor took samples to assess the petroleum present at the site.
Officials are developing a plan to address the contamination at the property at 720 Riverside Drive in Westover. Cleanup operations are expected to start next week.
The DEC is working with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency in the site investigation.
The state agency is to investigate potential violations of New York Environmental Conservation Law.
In a statement released to WNBF News, DEC indicated it "is committed to holding parties accountable for violations of the stringent requirements in place to protect public health and the environment."
Town of Union supervisor Robert Mack said local officials have long been concerned about safety and environmental issues posed by the site. He said town officials who've been on the property told him "the place was a wreck."
Mack said people who've been on the property to remove scrap steel may have caused serious damage to the facility. He said they may have cut support beams that "are important to keeping the building standing."
Officials have said unauthorized and haphazard “scrapping” operations such as this have become a big concern in recent years.
DEC and EPA representatives met with local officials at Westover site on January 25 to ensure redevelopment of the property would be handled in an appropriate manner.
Investigators have not indicated what kind of criminal charges could be applied to the illegal activity that appears to have been occurring at the Riverside Drive site.