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Audio Feature: This week in local environmental news

Oct 15, 2022 2:03 am

Here is a roundup of the biggest environmental stories locally this week from the WGXC Newsroom. Click here to download or play this week's environmental news from WGXC.

Liz Montgomery is reporting for Porcupine Soup Coxsackie village officials are pondering the use of their eminent domain power to acquire the old American Valve Manufacturing Company property at 170 Mansion Street. Cleanup of the 15-acre Superfund site ended nearly 20 years ago and the village is again looking at the property, this time for use as a dog park and other municipal uses. According to county property records, American Valve is still the owner. Mayor Mark Evans said at a public hearing in September, the vacant land has been remediated, but digging is restricted to no more than three feet, thereby limiting what can be done with the property. The village is looking to use six acres on the northern side of the parcel. A three-year state Superfund remediation of the site was concluded in early 2004 after then-Attorney General Eliot Spitzer sued American Valve to finance the cleanup of the lead and toxic solvents left behind when the business was relocated to North Carolina. From 1920 until 1988, American Valve operated a valve manufacturing and assembly business at the location, leaving the parcel contaminated by lead, and the toxic solvent perchloroethylene that tainted the soil and groundwater. According to Evans, should any future remediation be required at the site, the state of New York is responsible. “The contamination will be there forever, but the issue is if it starts to percolate to the surface the village is not held liable,” Evans is quoted as saying. When a developer was interested in purchasing the property for housing a few years ago, Evans said residents along Mansion Street and Spencer Boulevard appealed to officials to obtain the property. “...In order to move forward, the village has to have some type of stated purpose for obtaining the land,” Evans said. “Thus far, the village is working under a dog park or some other type of municipal benefit. That’s where the Village is headed.” A second public hearing on the matter is scheduled for Oct. 11. Read the full story at porcupinesoup [dot] com.

Fernando Alba reports for Syracuse [dot] com that a drought watch for most of upstate New York was lifted as of Oct. 8, state officials said. Columbia, Greene, Albany, Rensselaer, and Schoharie counties are among the 34 counties that returned to normal designations, according to a state Department of Environmental Conservation news release. Recent rainfall and higher levels of ground and surface water led to the watch being lifted, according to the DEC. The DEC continues to encourage New Yorkers to limit water waste by fixing leaks and choosing efficient water fixtures, officials said. Dutchess, Nassau, and Ulster counties are still under drought watch — the first of four drought advisories issued by the DEC. Water restrictions are not in place for the counties under a watch, but residents are encouraged to conserve water by watering lawns only when necessary, raising lawnmowers to keep grass longer and using a broom instead of a hose to clean sidewalks. In August, 49 counties from western New York to the Hudson Valley were under a drought watch. Read the full story at Syracuse [dot] com.

Liz Montgomery reports for Porcupine Soup that the Village of Athens was chosen along with 26 other municipalities to participate in a state program to upgrade wastewater infrastructure facilities. "The State's Asset Management Program advances resources and expertise to help municipal leaders establish robust programs to maintain and upgrade essential wastewater infrastructure systems," Governor Kathy Hochul said on Oct. 7. "By evaluating flood resilience needs, these local asset management programs will help our communities mitigate the effects of climate change and better prepare for the future." Funding for the program comes from New York's Clean Water Infrastructure Act. Read more about this story at the Porcupine Soup website.

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