Tag Archive | "National Grid"

Sag Harbor Village Looks to Stabilize West Water Street

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Whether they have the help of a luxury condominium developer or not, Sag Harbor Village officials acknowledged this week that a long term plan needs to be developed to stabilize the waterfront embankment on West Water Street, parts of which have taken a beating during recent nor’easters.

On Tuesday, December 8 Sag Harbor Mayor Brian Gilbride asked the board for suggestions on how to handle the beachfront on West Water Street after receiving word from Sag Harbor Superintendent of Public Works Jim Early that the embankment had been damaged for the fourth time this year.

“I feel the village should work on getting the area in a stable condition before we have another storm and we could possibly lose more of the bank and possibly some of the road,” said Early in a letter to the board.

According to Gilbride, Early and his crew have already had to replenish the embankment several times this year.

Across the street from the beachfront is the luxury condominium development known as 21 West Water Street, which recently renewed its building permit with the village. Earlier this fall, project manager Mark D’Andrea said the condos were in the final stages of completion. According to Gilbride, part of their original site plan approval included an agreement that the developers would aid the village in creating a waterfront boardwalk at the site, although discussions stalled after the New York Department of Environmental Conservation (NYSDEC) expressed some concerns with the plan, which may have altered the roadway in its creation.

No permits have been issued for a project at the embankment.

“This is our property, our project,” said village attorney Fred W. Thiele, Jr., noting any agreement on the part of the developers was simply to participate with the village in stabilizing the area.

“We will have to give this serious thought during the budget process,” said Gilbride.

“This has been going on for a number of years,” acknowledged village trustee Ed Gregory.

The board agreed to empower village planner Richard Warren to look at revising plans for the area and continue talks with the NYSDEC in order to get the ball rolling on stabilizing the area, and would contact the developers of 21 West Water Street about their involvement.

Attorney Edward Burke, Sr., representing the Hastings family, approached the board looking to appeal last month’s decision by trustees to deny the couple the right to acquire an adjacent, village-owned sliver of land used for many years as a driveway to the family’s Norte Dame Road residence.

According to the Hastings’ environmental planner, Susanna Herman, the family hopes to demolish and rebuild their home in order to accommodate their four young children. Given the flood zone the house resides in, Herman said a new sanitation system is being “shoe horned” into the property as a result of setback requirements and does not meet Suffolk County code. The Hastings would like to be able to shift the system further away from the water, and can only do so by either acquiring the piece of village-owned property.

Herman said the Hastings would also accept an easement from the village and noted variances and approval by the village’s historic preservation and architectural review board will also be required before the project can move forward.

Trustee Tiffany Scarlato said she had concerns about impeding public access to the waterfront – a priority for a village with a Local Waterfront Revitalization Plan (LWRP), which demands the board protect that access. Herman countered that no one in the neighborhood uses the path to access the bulkheaded beach and that there is access at other points in the neighborhood.

Kieran Murphree, representing the Hastings with Burke, said a title search was underway to see who truly owned the strip of land, noting a survey from the 1930s indicated the property was not meant for public access, but specifically for access to the Hasting property.

Gilbride suggested waiting to see the results of the title search before the board moved forward with a decision.

“If it’s the village’s you will have a difficult sell with me,” he said.

Sag Harbor has officially struck a deal with National Grid to continue use of its land on Long Island Avenue as a parking lot for the next year. According to Gilbride, National Grid has had private offers to use the property, but Thiele noted the NYSDEC has not determined what, if anything, can be developed on the site, which was recently remediated for coal tar.

The yearlong lease, at no cost to the village, will be good until November 30.

On Tuesday, the village board adopted a new law streamlining how Sag Harbor officials deal with abandoned boats following a months-long battle to remove a vessel left drifting and crashing against the breakwater. The new law allows village officials to remove any hazards to navigation with little bureaucracy.

In other news, Gilbride read a proclamation naming May 1 Silver Star Banner Day, a day created by The Silver Star Families of America to honor ill and wounded soldiers. The board also acknowledged local Eagle Scout Mark Mahoney, who led the village in its Salute to the United States flag at the opening of the meeting.

Lastly, the Sag Harbor Chamber of Commerce was granted permission to host pony rides on December 19 from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m., although a location has yet to be established. While the Chamber hoped to use the grass at Marine Park, chamber member Benito Vila said he would work with Early to come up with a new location after Early expressed concerns about damage to the grass and sprinkler system.

According to Vila, it is the hope of the Chamber that the event will bring more holiday shoppers to Main Street.

Trustees Hope for Village Ice Rink

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web ice rink

The Village of Sag Harbor may be the newest community to boast an ice rink for its residents this winter if trustee Tim Culver has his way.

During a village board meeting earlier this month Sag Harbor Business Association Chair Ted Conklin voiced his support for the concept, which Culver admitted this week was his idea as a way to keep the village vibrant during the bleak winter months.

While the concept is in preliminary stages with neither a site or an operator confirmed, Conklin supported the idea of a Long Island Avenue parcel owned by National Grid as the location for a village ice rink, noting it could be another feather in Sag Harbor’s cap. That Long Island Avenue parcel was recently remediated by National Grid in an ambitious nine-month clean up that wrapped up at the beginning of this summer. Village officials were able to negotiate a deal with the utility to lease the space for parking for the summer season, although that lease expires in November. According to Culver, the village has yet to reach out to National Grid about having an ice rink during the winter months on the property, but that he would hope to find another space should the utility be opposed to the idea.

“I think it’s a great idea, and that would seem to be the logical spot, but if we can’t do it there, we can do it somewhere else,” said Culver on Wednesday. “The point is the ice rink would be a draw to the village.”

Other areas for consideration, said Culver, could include Marine Park.

“It would become a point of attraction and a benefit for the people of the village,” said Culver, noting if the National Grid site was ultimately used the loss of parking spaces in the village would not be detrimental due to the time of year.

While residents on the East End have long enjoyed the winter pastime on area ponds, in recent years communities have largely embraced maintained ice rink facilities. In East Hampton, after years of controversy over its legality, the Buckskill Winter Club operates a rink on the Buckskill Tennis Club’s tennis courts. This past winter was the second year Southampton Village boasted its own rink, at Agawam Park, although unlike the winter club’s facility that rink is weather dependent and as a result its inaugural year was largely unsuccessful due to warm winter temperatures.

“It is my though to find private people to run this,” said Culver. “I don’t want the village to be in the ice rink business.”

Culver said he would like to see a facility not dependent on weather in order to create a more reliable venture for whatever operator the village chooses to run the rink. According to Culver, the next step is to begin a formal process of selecting a site and going out to bid for an operator.

“It is not just for the weekend people,” continued Culver. “If you are a kid out here, unless you want to join the Polar Bear club, there is not a lot to do.”

Strike Deal for Parking, New Lot Opens This Weekend

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This week officials with National Grid, the utility that has just completed remediation of their Long Island Avenue, Sag Harbor parcel, inked a short term agreement that will give village residents anywhere from 65 to 75 long-term parking spaces just a block from Main Street.

During the village’s end of the fiscal year meeting, on Friday, May 29 Mayor Greg Ferraris announced a deal had been struck, although it was made official by National Grid officials this week. On Tuesday, Ferraris said village officials would gather at the gravel-covered site later this week and that it was his hope the lot would be ready for use by this weekend.

Starting in September, National Grid began a nine-month remediation of coal tar that sat under the now-removed KeySpan Hortonsphere. The clean-up project involved the excavation of 36,449 tons of manufactured-gas-plant-impacted soil from the site. Due to Sag Harbor’s high water table, the project required dewatering – the removal of water from the toxic soil – before the contaminated fill could be trucked to New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (NYSDEC) approved sites in Pennsylvania and New Jersey. The removed water was treated in a facility that loomed over the backs of stores on Main Street, and pumped via pipeline past the breakwater near North Haven.

Late last month, National Grid finished its work on the site, although it will have to monitor area groundwater for years to come, layering the top of the parcel in blue stone gravel.

According to Ferraris, the six-month agreement with National Grid will enable the village to create anywhere from 65 to 75 parking spaces. While the lot will not be striped, Ferraris said he was planning on meeting with village officials at the site on Thursday to plan the best configuration, laying down telephone poles to delineate where cars should park.

“We will start it off as a long term parking lot and it will stay that way unless people abuse it,” Ferraris said on Tuesday.

As for the long-term plans for the parcel, National Grid would need approval from the New York State Public Service Commission if it were inclined to sell the property to the village. According to Ferraris, village officials will begin negotiations with National Grid next week on a long-term parking plan, but he acknowledged it will be complicated.

“There are a lot of individuals involved in this because it is a rate-payer based property we would be trying to acquire,” he said. “Technically, individual rate-payers have paid for this property through their rates over the years, so the commission must make sure the end use is in the best interest of the public.”


In other village news, the board passed a resolution opposing a change in legislation recommended by New York State Attorney General Andrew Cuomo that would change the law to force a referendum to dissolve any district, including a village government. Currently, a petition to force such a referendum requires the signatures of 30 percent of village residents. Cuomo’s legislation, which is designed to reduce the number of unnecessary districts in the state, would bring that number down to 10 percent. Yesterday, Wednesday, the bill — which had been approved by the assembly Monday — was passed by the state senate, and will now go to Governor Paterson for signing.

“This is a move by Attorney General Cuomo and the state to reduce the amount of authorities and taxing districts in New York State, which I am fully in support of because there are numerous districts that have been initiated, but are now outdated and still exist,” said Ferraris on Tuesday. “This is an obvious move to reduce these. However, when we are talking about 10 percent, in a village like Sag Harbor it would only take 200 people to force a referendum and they could do it every year; it is not time barred.”

“This would be extremely expensive for the village,” continued Ferraris. “It costs about $7,500 to hold a referendum with all the legal fees associated with it, so that is the main reason we are opposing it and asking the original percentage be maintained.”


National Grid Cleanup Wraps Up In Time for Season

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Despite a winter that posed a number of problems – freezing pipes, causing flooding in some areas and even wind that ripped part of a 115-ton fabric tent – by next weekend National Grid officials hope to have completed a nine-month remediation of coal tar at the Long Island Avenue, Sag Harbor parcel that once housed a manufactured gas plant.

In addition to finishing an ambitious cleanup project, once anticipated to take almost two years, village officials are hopeful the completion of the remediation will also allow them to enter into a six-month agreement with National Grid where the village will be able to use the National Grid site for village parking.

On Wednesday, Sag Harbor Mayor Greg Ferraris said he was hopeful an arrangement would be finalized with National Grid for the use of the site by next week. If a deal is reached, after six-months the village would need to begin discussions with the utility for any long-term use of the property, he added.

On Wednesday, with a bulldozer preparing Bridge Street to be re-paved, new fencing being erected around part of the property owned by Diane and Gabe Schiavoni, gravel being laid throughout the site and crews getting ready to remove the last remnants of a water treatment area that has monopolized one of the village parking lots behind Main Street, project manager Ted Leissing said it was his hope the project would be completed by May 28. According to construction manager Tom Shock, the village parking lot that once housed the water treatment facility should be clear for this holiday weekend, and the utility intends to repave the whole lot, add new curbing and beautify the area with trees sometime next week.

Since mid-September, National Grid has been engaged in the excavation of soil contaminated with coal tar that sat under the now-removed KeySpan Hortonsphere for what may have been decades. Due to Sag Harbor’s high water table, the project required dewatering – the removal of water from the toxic soil – before the contaminated fill could be trucked to New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (NYSDEC) approved sites in Pennsylvania and New Jersey. The removed water was treated in a facility that loomed over the backs of stores on Main Street, and pumped via pipeline past the breakwater near North Haven.

In order to minimize odor, dust and construction noise, National Grid officials erected a tent on the site, pivoting it six times to cover each portion of the property that required excavation.

According to construction manager Tom Shock, 36,449 tons of manufactured-gas-plant-impacted soil was removed during the nine-month cleanup in 1485 trucks. An army of 1268 trucks brought 31,668 tons of clean fill back onto the property, with 170 additional trucks carting in 4339 tons of bluestone gravel, which will blanket the site once the project is completed. An estimated 15,641,385 gallons of water was treated and cleaned on-site before being pumped past the breakwater.

On Wednesday, Leissing said crews were putting the finishing touches on a project that was not without its share of challenges – challenges difficult to tackle in such a short period of time.

“We had huge challenges with weather in particular,” said Leissing, noting freezing temperatures and precipitation led to frozen lines and flooding on the Bridge Street side of the property. Last week’s seemingly endless bouts of rain fortunately occurred before the water treatment facility was dismantled, said Leissing, allowing crews to funnel rainwater flooding the area through the plant. Because the pipeline to the breakwater had already been removed, however, additional trucks were required to cart the water out of the village. Leissing also credited the work of Sevenson Environmental, which led remediation on the site, and construction managers AECOM for finding solutions for each challenge.

Ultimately, said Leissing, while Sag Harbor officials may have challenged National Grid, requiring almost an additional year of research before it would allow the remediation to commence, it was the relationship between the utility and the village that moved things along so smoothly.

“The relationship was nothing but highly professional on all sides,” said Sag Harbor Trustee Ed Deyermond, who led the project for the village. “Sometimes it was an overwhelming job, but the property has been remediated. This was an important project for the village to complete and a hard project to get done in such a compressed timeframe. The thing I was most impressed with was just working with this group. They are hard working and dedicated, from the top to the bottom.”

On Wednesday, Ferraris said the village owed Deyermond for the time and effort it took to accomplish the project before the summer season began.

“It was out of the headlines, which meant it went pretty smoothly,” said Ferraris. “Ed should not be overlooked. He really made the difference that allowed us to facilitate this project in a nine-month period of time.”

After May 28, National Grid will continue to have a presence in the village, said Leissing. While the NYSDEC will work with the utility to develop a long-term management plan for the site, Leissing said groundwater testing would be ongoing. According to Ferraris, Leissing will make a presentation to the village board at its June meeting. 


Tour of the National Grid remediation site

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National Grid Likely to Finish in May

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Anyone taking a stroll down Long Island Avenue might think the circus is in town if they catch a glimpse of the giant white tent surrounded by green fencing. The tent, however, was put up by National Grid/Keyspan as part of their ongoing remediation of the site where the gas ball once stood.

 According to Sag Harbor Village Trustee Ed Deyermond, the tent creates a climate controlled environment used to house two machines that dig up soil. The vapors from this process are then sucked into a filter, which purifies the air. These filtering machines are located in the parking lot across the street from the back entrance of Schiavoni’s IGA.

 In terms of contaminants, Deyermond said everything seems to be running smoothly.

 “All indicators are fine. The [containment] levels are below the tolerances,” he said.

 Although levels of contaminants are on target, the amount of water pumped daily from the site is lower than National Grid projected. The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation permitted National Grid to pump 1.5 million gallons of water a day. However, only 300,000 to 350,000 gallons are currently being pumped.

 “They designed the plant to be a Cadillac, but they are driving a Ford,” Deyermond said of the discrepancies.

 Due to this shortfall, National Grid employees will continue to work on Saturdays. National Grid has overcome some other problems recently. Due to the snowstorm, a section of the tent was ripped and left a hole, but Deyermond said National Grid is in the midst of repairing the problem.

 “The company has been extremely conscientious,” added Deyermond. Last week, National Grid employees cleaned a grease spill, created by a garbage truck, near one of the stores at the end of Meadow Street.

 According to Deyermond, National Grid plans to have the project completed some time in the month of May.

 “The sooner we get it done, the better it is going to be for everyone,” said Deyermond. However, National Grid is still remaining mum on their plans for the site after the project is completed.

Cleanup of National Grid Site Nears Second Phase

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On the lot where the big blue gas ball once stood it looks like winter has come early to Sag Harbor. On a dark gray November day trucks rumbled and the brown earth was crested by white; the scene was like an urban building project crusted with snow.

The white, however, was a layer of foam meant to keep down the odor of chemicals and coal tar, which was being dredged up on the property. It is all part of the first phase of remediating the property, removing tons of soil that have been contaminated by years of dumping toxic coal waste and cleaning the groundwater beneath that is laced with carcinogenic chemicals. A walk past the site offers only a hint of the bitter and caustic stuff that lies beneath the surface, a testament to the success the cleanup crew has had so far in keeping down — but not eliminating — the impact on the neighbors.

The remediation project, which began in earnest in mid-September, is reaching the start of its second phase, digging out tons of soil and treating millions of gallons of contaminated water a day. In the past several weeks National Grid and its subcontractors have been building an underground wall, 17-feet deep, around the perimeter of the .8-acre site to be remediated. They have been using an auger to drill holes, at times ten-feet in diameter and filling the holes with a slurry of water and Portland cement. The holes, backed up to one another, form a wall that is about 12-feet thick and will form a sort of dam to keep the earth from falling into pits they will be digging throughout the site.

Last Tuesday, November 25, village officials, including Mayor Greg Ferraris and trustee Ed Deyermond, as well as Harbor Committee members Bruce Tait and Jeff Peters, toured the site and received a presentation on where the project goes from here.

As slurry flowed in a river outside, the officials stood around a table inside the former annex for Fisher’s Home Furnishings, a space National Grid has taken over as a sort of command center. A set of windows look out over the construction site, and just feet away from the building’s wall an auger pressed through the dirt pulling up dark black dirt along the southern boundary of the remediation.

Once the boundary has been secured, National Grid will bring in a 100’-by-140’ tent that will be moved around the site over the next seven months. It is beneath this tent that most of the clearing work will be done. Essentially, two things will occur: contaminated soil will be trucked out and disposed of, and water will be pumped, cleaned and released into the bay beyond the breakwater.

The design calls for the tent to be set so that two sides are always sitting on the underground walls. Steel walls will then be driven to hold up the dirt on the other two sides while the soil is dug out. Dozens of test borings have already been completed to test for contaminants beneath the soil, and the site carved up into a matrix, indicating the more contaminated sections, and helping workers decide where certain sections of soil will be disposed of. At least six sites have been selected to receive the waste, in New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware and upstate New York.

Before the digging begins, however, wells will be drilled around the perimeter of the tent that will then be used to remove groundwater from the section to a level below the point where the soil will be excavated. On most of the site, soil will be excavated to a depth of nine feet, with some deeper cuts going as far as 11 feet. The water is then pumped through filters and out to the bay where it will be released through a diffuser, a length of pipe about 200-feet long with hundreds of holes to allow the fresh water to have a minimized impact on the saltwater environment of the bay.

The process is then repeated as the tent is re-positioned six times to cover the entire site, with the greatest intensity of contamination at the rough center of the property. It was there, explains project manager Ted Leissing, that a plant in the early part of the 20th century manufactured gas by burning coal that once lit the village. The coal tar and fluid that resulted was dumped into the ground on the site. The chemicals associated with the contamination, several of which are carcinogenic, include benzene, ethyl benzene, xylene and tuolene.

When the tent arrives in the next couple weeks, workers will not be required to wear masks or respirators inside, despite the fact that it is an enclosed space. That is because a negative air pressure system is designed for the space, which will ensure fresh air is brought in from the outside and the contaminated air is pumped outside and through a carbon filter before being released into the air. The release is monitored to meet DEC standards. The perimeter of the site is monitored as well with a half-dozen air-quality monitors that report to computers at the site as well as at National Grid’s main office and workers’ cell phones. Last week, as contractors moved soil around on the property, the monitors were indicating that contaminants were exiting the site at a rate of .1 parts per million. By their agreement with the DEC, they are allowed to work at a level of 5 parts per million, but they have set a threshold of 3.7 parts per million when an alarm would sound and they would shut work down. They will get warnings at 1 ppm.

To date there have been about a half-dozen times when limits have been exceeded, but, said Leissing, they were not related to site work, and had been triggered by such things as truck exhaust too close to a monitoring station.

The project is being overseen by the state Department of Environmental Conservation, which has established standards for water and air as it leaves the property. A DEC representative is on site each day observing the work.

The groundwater pulled from beneath the soil will be pumped through carbon and sand filters. For passersby, these are among the most visible parts of the cleanup, as the tanks tower over the fence that has been put up around the site.

Before the system becomes fully operational, water will be looped through the filters and tested before it is released into the water. National Grid must meet a set of standards of water quality with its filtration system, and the DEC will test before the pumping into the bay begins. Once the system starts, however, water testing will occur once a week, with samples being sent to a lab by National Grid, and the results then reviewed by the DEC.

There has been at least one misstep so far with the project. While augering holes for the underground wall, workers drilled through two outflow sewer pipes that led to the sewer line beneath Long Island Avenue.

About 150 – 200 feet of sewer line filled with the slurry and hardened, blocking the sewer line like an artery clogged with plaque. Subcontractors have been working for the past few weeks drilling through the cement with a tool called an Intruder, and will ultimately install a vinyl liner to make the sewer line operational. In the meantime, National Grid has been providing a tank truck to collect the waste from the occupied buildings at the affected section of the sewer line, and bring the waste to the village’s wastewater treatment plant on Bay Street each morning.

Work on the project is expected to be completed by Memorial Day.



North Haven Village Scrambles to Remove Moored Boats

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The National Grid remediation project currently underway in Sag Harbor has some North Haven residents concerned.
At the monthly Village of North Haven Trustees meeting last week, board members discussed the nine month long remediation project which is designed to remove coal tar from the ground beneath the former Hortonsphere gas ball in Sag Harbor. With plans that include pumping water from the site out past the breakwater, North Haven officials have been asked by National Grid to remove all boats currently moored off shore on the North Haven side of the Sag Harbor bridge.
The National Grid remediation project on Long Island Avenue in Sag Harbor is expected to continue through the end of May and entails the removal of some 10 to 15 feet of contaminated soil from the Superfund site that once housed a manufactured gas plant – the source of pollution. As part of the clean-up, due to the high water table in the area, National Grid will remove water from the contaminated soil, treat it, and pump the clean water through a pipe out past the breakwater near North Haven.
North Haven village clerk Georgia Welch received a fax earlier last week asking for the removal of moored boats, which Mayor Laura Nolan said she believed the village was asked to do as soon as possible.
“We didn’t have any warning that this was something that was going to be done,” Nolan said on Wednesday.
Nolan said that although most of the boats are out of the water now, “It came as a surprise to all of us.”
Nolan said that she believes the residents in North Haven have been notified about the removal and possibly the yacht club and Ship Ashore Marina have been notified as well.
Village board member, Jim Smyth said that he is concerned if the project is not finished by May, the piping might have to stay in place, and that would become a problem for the summer months.
“It caught us off guard,” Smyth said, “We don’t know what might happen in the spring.”
Smyth said that the actual pumping of the water may begin December 1, but he added this seems to be a grey area.
The remediation will take the winter to complete, the demolition at the site began on September 30 and is expected to be completed in nine months.
The piping that will carry the treated water is already assembled and in place in the water. Lights mark the pipe’s course for boaters. According to National Grid, approximately 500,000 to one million gallons of treated water will be pumped through the pipes daily.
Today, Thursday, November 13, a meeting with FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency) will commence in Southampton for the discussion of the revised flood maps and possible changes in flood insurance throughout the town.
North Haven has received an outline of areas where flood insurance is going to go up for those residents who are situated along the water in flood evacuation routes.
Village board member Jim Smyth said that board members received their new flood maps, and if any residents would like to make a comment on the changes, they will have 90 days to appeal any decisions made by FEMA, after today’s meeting.
Santa is coming to the village
Also at last week’s meeting the village board approved the visit of Santa Claus to the village on December 20. Santa will begin visiting the children and shut-ins of North Haven at noon on that day.

Pipeline Installed in Sag Harbor Superfund Cleanup

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With trucks rumbling behind the secured gates of the National Grid remediation site on Long Island Avenue in Sag Harbor, the utility is moving forward with the ambitious cleanup of coal tar left in the ground for what may have been decades.

In the last month, National Grid – formerly KeySpan – has been engaged in the beginnings of a nine-month remediation of toxic soil under the now removed Hortonsphere and manufactured gas plant.

While just commencing the state-mandated plan, there has been no shortage of changes in that corner of the village, as the Schiavoni building was torn down, fences, offices and water towers erected, streets closed and a pipe line laid across the waters of Sag Harbor Cove, stretching towards North Haven where it will end at the breakwater.

And while the large scale excavation planned for the project has yet to begin, over 500 tons of soil has already been taken out of the village by an army of trucks as National Grid lays a concrete barrier wall around the perimeter of the cleanup site – a demarcation line of sorts that will define the area to be excavated in coming months.

The cleanup requires the excavation of soil containing coal tar on the site as deep as 10 to 15 feet in order to successfully remove any danger to the environment. The water table in the area, and in Sag Harbor, is so close to the surface that the excavation will require dewatering – removal of the water from the toxic soil — before that soil is trucked out to a DEC-approved disposal site. The water will then be treated and cleaned before it is pumped via the pipeline out past the breakwater near North Haven. Sag Harbor Village officials initially expressed concern the plan could have a negative effect on the salinity and therefore ecology of the area, but said this summer that salinity modeling had allayed their fears.

According to information provided by Wendy Ladd, of National Grid, most of what is being accomplished on the site so far is characterized as a “mobilization effort,” meaning the heavy lifting has yet to begin. Construction equipment, materials and temporary facilities have been set up on site, and Bridge Street is now closed and will not be open again until this coming summer. As National Grid explained this summer at a number of presentations to the village, Long Island Avenue will also be subject to temporary closures as the project moves forward.

While it may have looked as if some of the large-scale excavation at the site has already begun, according to information provided by Ladd, workers from Sevenson Environmental – the contractor performing the work for National Grid – have been digging trenches to form an underground concrete wall that will surround the site. The soil and debris removed as the trenches are dug is placed on a designated storage pad, sprayed with foam that prevents odor and dust from escaping and covered with a plastic liner until it is removed from the site. Last week, 23 trucks transported 545 tons of soil to a facility in New Jersey for disposal.

One problem that arose over the course of the last month developed when slurry, meant for the concrete barrier, accidentally broke into a village sewer line on Long Island Avenue, creating a blockage. According to a release issued by National Grid last week, the utility and the village are continuing to work on clearing the blockage, with the company providing a tanker truck to the village in the meantime to pump sewage from the pipes and transport it to the village sewage treatment plant on Bay Street.

Miller Environmental, which is installing the pipeline through Sag Harbor Cove and past the breakwater in North Haven began that process this week. According to Ladd, 2,400 feet of the total 3,740 feet of pipeline has been welded together and placed, floating, in the harbor.

According to Ladd, Sevenson Environmental will take the next several weeks to set up the water treatment plant necessary for the project. The concrete barrier wall is also still under construction, and a fabric tent, which ideally will keep odors and debris from entering adjacent properties will also be erected in the next two weeks, according to National Grid. 

Schiavoni Building Demolished As Remediation Begins in Sag Harbor

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Early Tuesday morning, Diane Schiavoni stood alone with a cup of steaming coffee waiting for National Grid employees to demolish the Long Island Avenue, Sag Harbor building she and her husband Gabe have owned for some 30 years.

“I just felt like someone should be here for this,”

said Schiavoni, whose husband was away Tuesday. As the morning progressed, and little, save preparations for the demolition began, Schiavoni left the site, returning after National Grid employees informed her they would begin the demolition phase soon.

As chain saws blared in the background, removing a fence and street signs, and a bulldozer began crashing into the middle of the building, removing pieces of debris in a slow, methodical fashion, Schiavoni admitted it was all a little anti-climatic, but nonetheless difficult.

The Schiavoni’

s have leased the commercial building to National Grid, formerly KeySpan, which this week began the process of cleaning up the former manufactured gas plant and Superfund site in Sag Harbor. The demolition of the Schiavoni building, the closure of a portion of Bridge Street and the creation of a staging area in a public lot behind the post office is just the beginning of what is expected to be a nine-month long remediation of coal tar from the site.

Tuesday’s demolition is the culmination of almost four-years of negotiations between the Schiavonis and National Grid. The Schiavonis cannot divulge the contents of their agreement with National Grid, although they have confirmed the utility will lease the property from them during the cleanup, and have an option to lease for as long as three years. Once the cleanup is complete, the Schiavoni’

s will retain ownership of the property, and plan on rebuilding.

But despite the promise of a new building, what was difficult for Diane on Tuesday morning was remembering the tenants with whom she and Gabe had longstanding relationships –

tenants that had to vacate the premises, likely not to return.

By Wednesday morning, a majority of the building was gone, save a few remnants of the one-story structure. Now National Grid will embark on an ambitious cleanup plan and schedule in order to remediate the site, under a mandate by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation.

The NYSDEC selected the form of remediation two years ago, although last year village officials put a halt to a planned fall 2007 start date in order to ensure aspects of the plan – namely the pumping of some million gallons of fresh, treated water daily into the waters off Sag Harbor, and truck traffic –

would not have a negative effect on the village or water ecology in the area.

In August, after a year of study, village officials said they were comfortable with the cleanup plan. The project calls for the removal of coal tar, a byproduct of manufacturing gas on the site, which occurred from 1859 through 1931 when gas production ceased. The remediation plan involves the removal of 10 to 15 feet of soil throughout the site. Due to the high water table in the area, water will have to be removed from the soil, treated and pumped clean through a pipe that will traverse the bottom of Sag Harbor Cove and Sag Harbor Bay. The water will dispense just past the breakwater near North Haven and it is expected the project will generate between 500,000 and a million gallons of clean, treated water daily during the nine-month process.

The fill, in the meantime, will be trucked to a DEC approved landfill. No more than 20 trucks a day are expected during the height of the excavation, according to DEC officials.

National Grid has promised village officials and members of the community regular updates on the cleanup process as it moves forward. For more information, visit http://www.sagharbormgpsite.com.