Tag Archive | "remediation"

Tour of the National Grid remediation site

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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.


 

 

Harbor Committee Approves Cleanup of Toxic Gas Ball Site

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With one member absent and another abstaining, the Sag Harbor Village Harbor Committee gave its stamp of approval to the remediation of coal tar from the land under the former KeySpan Hortonsphere, paving the way for the cleanup project to commence in a week’s time.

On Monday, September 8 harbor committee chairman Bruce Tait broached the subject with the rest of the board, noting it was his belief that the village has done enough to ensure the ecology of Sag Harbor will not be negatively affected by 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 and dispense just past the breakwater near North Haven. It is expected the project will generate between 500,000 and a million gallons of fresh, treated water daily during the eight 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.

“What proof did they give you that all that fresh water is not going to hurt the salt water,” asked harbor committee member Jeff Peters.

Tait reminded Peters that the village hired independent consultants to oversee salinity monitoring performed by National Grid consultants in an effort to prove the project would not dilute the salt water, but that flushing outside the breakwater is strong enough and can accommodate enough fresh water to protect the ecology of the bay. Village environmental planning consultant Richard Warren agreed with the findings of the study — which showed no impact on the bay.

Tait added the filtration systems used to clean the water will be monitored by a number of agencies, including the harbor committee.

“They are required by law to have clean, potable water,” he said.

Tait did allow that the project is fairly “low tech,” and a “stinky, messy job.”

“I’ve been going to these meetings for months and months and months now and I am convinced this is the best option that has been put in front of the village,” he said. Other viable options, he added, included simply paving the site over, which he called “a bit of sticking your head in the sand.”

“Let’s get it out of here,” said committee member George Pharoah.

Pharoah, Tait and committee member Nancy Haynes voted that they found the project consistent with the LWRP with Peters abstaining, stating he felt he needed more information on the plan. Committee member Brian Halweil was absent from the meeting.

In other news, the board discussed the proposed revisions to the village code, which includes stricter wetlands ordinances, and a change that gives the harbor committee instead of the Sag Harbor Board of Trustees the authority to approve wetlands applications. The board of trustees introduced the wetlands section of the code on Tuesday, September 9, and will hold a public hearing at its October meeting.

In addition to giving the harbor committee more authority in this matter, it also gives them more teeth, increasing a suggested vegetation buffer from 25-feet to 75-feet for the construction of any structure near wetlands.

Tait suggested the board take the next month to review the regulations.

Sag Harbor Business Association member Ted Conklin said he attended the meeting to reaffirm the association’s support of the harbor committee and their involvement in the construction of the new zoning code, in particular where it involves the waterfront district.

The waterfront district is not a part of the wetlands regulations introduced by the board, or the extended powers the harbor committee is expected to gain should the new code be adopted.

Regardless, Conklin said he has questions about whether or not the uses of businesses on the waterfront can be controlled to ensure it is an appropriate use.

“I would like to see the harbor committee say it is not appropriate to have a sewing supply store down there,” he said as an example, preferring something like a sail maker, or another business that complimented the waterfront.

Public Meeting To Discuss Sag Harbor Toxic Cleanup

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A cadre of professionals from a number of state agencies and the utility responsible for the cleanup under the former manufactured gas plant on Bridge Street in Sag Harbor will host a meeting next week geared towards any community members who may have questions or concerns about the planned nine-month remediation project.

The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) is hosting the meeting with the New York State Department of Health (DOH) at Pierson Middle-High School on Wednesday, August 27 from 7 to 9 p.m. Representatives from National Grid, which purchased KeySpan last year and is responsible financially for the cleanup will also be on hand.

The “public availability session” is intended as an opportunity for people to “drop in at any time,” according to a release issued by the DEC, and have one-on-one discussions about the site and proposed cleanup plans.

The clean up project, expected to begin in mid-September, will take place at the Long Island Avenue and Bridge Street site that once housed the KeySpan Hortonsphere – dismantled in 2006.

The site is polluted with coal tar, a byproduct of manufacturing gas on the site, which occurred from 1859 through 1931 when gas production ceased. According to the DEC, the Hortonsphere remained as a gas storage tank through 2006.

KeySpan, like National Grid now, inherited the task of remediating the site from LILCO. It signed a consent order in 1999 with the DEC to investigate and perform the cleanup. The DEC classified the parcel as a class two inactive hazardous waste disposal, meaning it represents a significant threat to human health or the environment and is in need of remediation.

Two years ago the DEC selected a remediation plan after presenting several options to the public, although last year Sag Harbor Village officials halted a planned September 2007 start date after concerns arose over the dewatering required in the chosen remediation plan.

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 mid-September, the remediation will begin with the demolition of the Schiavoni building on Long Island Avenue. The family has agreed to lease the land to National Grid through the cleanup and afterwards has plans to rebuild on the site.

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 the danger. As groundwater in the area, and in Sag Harbor, is so close to the surface dewatering – or removing water from the contaminated soil – is required before the soil is shipped out of the village and to a DEC approved disposal site. Dewatering the site will entail cleaning and treating water from the contaminated soil before pumping it beyond the breakwater, directly next to North Haven. Sag Harbor village officials expressed concern the plan could have a negative effect on the salinity and therefore ecology of the area, but earlier this month said salinity modeling had allayed their fears.

During the clean up, the DEC has said a number of mitigation plans will be in place to ensure Sag Harbor residents are burdened as little as possible by a massive cleanup that will involve road closures and excavation that may have odors attached to it. Community air monitoring plans have been devised to ensure any potential for air-borne exposure is curtailed, including six air monitors around the site, which will be tented during excavation. Odor control measures, such as using foam and tarps to cover any exposed fill, and a misting system are also planned during the heavy excavation.

The end of Bridge Street, near Long Island Avenue, will be closed from the beginning of the project. Long Island Avenue will also be subject to temporary closures. Forty maximum round trip truck trips per day – including bringing contaminated soil out and clean soil in – are required for the project, although DEC officials have said the trucks will be cleaned before they leave the site to ensure no contaminants enter the roadway. National Grid conducted vibration monitoring and traffic studies, in conjunction with the Village of Sag Harbor, to ensure historic homes were not at risk as a result of the truck traffic.

Two routes to the Sag Harbor-Bridgehampton Turnpike are proposed, including the exit route: Long Island Avenue to Glover Street to Main Street to the Turnpike then onto Montauk Highway; and the entry route: Main Street to Spring Street then entering the site from Bridge Street.

The John Jermain Memorial Library has complete copies of all official documents relating to the site and the cleanup. Information is also available through the DEC, by calling its regional public affair’s office at 444-0350.