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Sleepy Hollow, DEC to Discuss General Motors Site

SLEEPY HOLLOW, N.Y. – A public meeting with the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) concerning the General Motors remediation plan will take place Thursday.

The meeting will begin at 7 p.m. at the James Galgano Senior Center in Sleepy Hollow. The center is located at 55 Elm St.

“It is estimated that activities to clean up the site will take up to two years for sediments, whereas the land-based engineering and institutional controls will be integrated with design and redevelopment of the site over several years,” the DEC said in a fact sheet. “NYSDEC will keep the public informed during the cleanup of the site.”

The site is the former home to a General Motors automotive plant that closed in 1996. General Motors is working to redevelop the property with plans for upscale housing, shopping and a hotel. A developer has not yet been chosen.

General Motors entered into a voluntary clean-up agreement with the DEC in November 2002. Interim remedial measures were taken in 2007 to remove 14,900 cubic yards of contaminated soils at four separate areas. A site-wide remedial approach “will be used to prevent public contact with soils and historic fill materials that contain low levels of remaining site contaminants,” according to the DEC.

The proposed decision document notes that General Motors and the DEC disagreed on whether contaminants in the Hudson River next to the outfall were toxic to river organisms and needed to be cleaned up. The two parties negotiated a settlement of $875,000 in damages for injuries to natural resources in 2010 to move the process forward.

The proposed site remediation plan provides a cover system of at least a minimum of 2 feet of soil where grasses and other plants are desired. Hard, protected surfaces including building slabs and pavements will also be used to prevent contact with soils and historic fill that does not meet the soil clean-up objectives.

Officials are also proposing the removal of off-site, contaminated Hudson River sediments that have been polluted with high concentrations of metals, such as chromium, copper, lead, mercury and zinc. The proposed action would affect about 4,400 cubic yards of the river bottom about 150 feet north and south of an existing storm water outfall.

Dredging would take place as deep as 10 to 17.5 feet below the mean sea level during the proposed soil removal, the DEC said. The contaminated soil would be disposed of at an off-site waste management facility or recycled for on-site use as fill beneath the proposed cover system if environmental officials approve it.

Future building designs will be required to incorporate measures that eliminate the possibility of natural soil and chemical gasses or vapors to enter an indoor air space, according to the DEC. Construction crews will be restricted from handling the soil or excavating beneath the soil cover. Future property owners will also be required to follow specific rules when working with the polluted soil.

Soil cleanup objectives for the protection of groundwater have not been applied, officials said, because the groundwater is not migrating off-site and the groundwater is not suitable for development as a water supply.

The draft plan can be found online or in hard copy at Warner Library and Sleepy Hollow Village Hall.

Citizens will have the opportunity to comment on the proposed action until March 30. Comments can be sent to Project Manager Jason Pelton at jmpelton@gw.dec.state.ny.us or Jason Pelton, NYSEC project manager, New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, Division of Environmental Remediation, 12th Floor, 625 Broadway, Albany, N.Y. 12233-7017.

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