POTSDAM — After years of waiting, an approximate $9.5 million remediation of the Waste Stream Inc. site on Outer Maple Street in Potsdam is set to get underway.
The cleanup of the 147 Outer Maple St. site, which the state Department of Environmental said represents a significant threat to public health or the environment and was determined to be contaminated with several toxins and chemicals such as polychlorinated biphenyls, which is known to cause cancer, is expected to last through spring of next year.
In 2011, the DEC formed a plan for Waste Stream to take care of cleanup.
Just west of the village, the approximately 27-acre site had been used primarily for scrap metal recycling but is currently vacant and all on-site structures have been demolished.
Based on the results of prior investigations, DEC officials said polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) are the primary constituent of concern in surface and subsurface soil and sediment at the site. Additional concerns include volatile organic compounds in groundwater and semi-volatile organic compounds and metals in soil.
Town Supervisor Ann M. Carvill said she spoke with the DEC recently about the project.
“Basically he just relayed what they will be doing with the clean up and that expect to see equipment there, both hauling away contaminated water and contaminated soil and some of the contaminated soil, of course, will remain there,” she said. “I asked him if it will be contaminated with PCBs and basically he said yes.”
Ms. Carvill said the future of the site is unknown at this time but it was something that she would be looking into.
“To me the important thing is that they are cleaning it up to the best extent that they can,” she said. “It’s unfortunate that it can’t be completely cleaned up, but there you have it.”
“Historic operations led to contamination at the site and an off-site area consisting primarily of wetlands,” the DEC reported. “The site is bounded by another scrap yard to the west, undeveloped land to the north, a wetland to the east and an industrial area and State Route 11 to the south.”
The cleanup activities will be performed by Waste Stream Group “remedial party” with oversight provided by DEC officials under the state’s Superfund Program and the wetlands will be restored with appropriate fill, topsoil, wetland seed mixtures, shrubs, and trees to create a natural condition.
The site is listed as a Class 2 site in the State Registry of Inactive Hazardous Waste Sites, which represents a significant threat to public health or the environment and requires action.
“The goal of the cleanup action is to achieve cleanup levels that protect public health and the environment,” DEC officials said in a news release issued Wednesday.
The key components of the remedy include excavating approximately 5,300 cubic yards of contaminated on-site soil, approximately 100 cubic yards of off-site soil along the southern property line and approximately 4,900 cubic yards of contaminated sediment from the Northern Drainage Area that contain PCBs.
This soil and sediment will be disposed of at an off-site, permitted hazardous waste facility.
Officials said they will be excavating approximately 5,000 cubic yards of off-site soil that contains volatile organic compounds, semi-volatile organic compounds, PCBs and metals above cleanup objectives. The soil will be consolidated on-site in a consolidation area.
They will also be excavating approximately 21,300 cubic yards of on-site and off-site sediment from the southern and northern drainage areas that contain elevated levels of PCBs.
The sediment will be consolidated on-site beneath a soil cover. A minimum 24-inch thick layer of clean soil will be used to backfill all on-site and off-site soil excavations, cover any remaining areas of residual contamination above the cleanup objectives, and cover the soil and sediment that is consolidated on-site.
These areas will be underlain by a demarcation layer.
Officials said after cleanup activities are completed, the remedial party will prepare a Final Engineering Report that will describe the cleanup activities completed and certify that cleanup requirements have been achieved or will be achieved.
DEC will keep the public informed throughout the cleanup of the site.