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Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Scully Toxic Dump Site, Valley View Road...

One of the items on the agenda tonight under Public Presentations is Old Scully Dump Site, Valley View Road. Long-time residents may remember the smell from the burning underground fires and the concerns that were raised in the early 1960s. However, people who have recently moved to New Hartford may have never heard about the site. Certainly anyone attending the recent Southern Area Generic Environmental Impact Statement (GEIS) informational meetings didn't learn anything about the old Scully dump site.

Back in 1961, the private dump owned by Mrs. Elizabeth Scully and her son Homer came under fire by the New Hartford Town Board. According to an Utica Observer-Dispatch article dated January 5, 1961:
The Town Board of New Hartford--which has been searching unsuccessfully for a town dump--began action last night that may close one of the private dumps in the town...

The board adopted a resolution asking the town attorney to see if the board could proceed under zoning ordinances to close the dump on Valley View Rd...

[Town] Board members also passed a resolution requesting Fire Chief Ed Roman to put out an underground fire in the dump that has been burning since November 19 [1960]...
A court case ensued and several subsequent Observer Dispatch articles were written on the dump and the court case:

March 7, 1961

April 14, 1961

April 15, 1961

Finally on July 5, 1961, Supreme Court Justice Howard Ringrose granted a court order to close the dump.

Then, twenty-five (25) years later, according to an August 30, 1986 Observer Dispatch article:

"State environmental officials plan to take soil and water samples on Sept. 10 near an old dump in the town of New Hartford to determine whether hazardous wastes are present. There are "severely rusted' old 56-gallon steel drums at the site, near Cascade Drive and Valley View Road, which once contained chemical solvents, according to preliminary State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC)reports.
In an April 9, 1987 Observer Dispatch article:

New Hartford residents last night received few answers to questions about two suspected hazardous waste sites in the town. About 20 of the 135 people who attended the public information meeting at the New Hartford High School questioned representatives of the state Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) and the Oneida County Health Department about concerns ranging from health risks to effects on property value. But officials said, they could not answer many questions because more testing is needed.

We apologize that some of the articles are difficult to read, but you can get an idea of what has transpired over the years. All articles are in Adobe pdf format and it will help to some degree if you adjust the magnification of the articles.

Now let's fast forward to Wednesday, February 25, 2009, thirty-two (32) years after the meeting at the New Hartford High School where officials had few answers and forty-eight (48) years after the court ordered that the dump be shut down, the question is...will New Hartford residents be given any answers at tonight's Town Board Meeting?

Lockheed Martin has posted several "technical" documents online. A write-up on the main page of that site says:

S.O.S. Septic Tank Service reportedly transported industrial waste from the former General Electric Company (GE) French Road plant in Utica, N.Y., from 1966 to 1973 and disposed of the waste at a property located at 204 Valley View Road in New Hartford, which is known as the S.O.S. Septic Service Tank site; it is also known as the Scully site.
How can that be? The Supreme Court ordered the dump closed in 1961.

The write-up continues:

Lockheed Martin installed a groundwater treatment system at the site in 1994 and operated a soil-vapor extraction system in the former S.O.S. refuse area from 1996 to 2002. During the first part of 2006, Lockheed Martin removed more than 1,700 truckloads of soil from the S.O.S. site.

In order to continue with the cleanup, Lockheed Martin submitted a Conceptual Remedial Design Plan to the NYSDEC in January 2008. Under the plan, Lockheed Martin will remove an additional 2,200 truckloads of soil and execute cleanup activities for the site and Sylvan Glen Creek. Cleanup is expected to begin in spring 2008 and to be completed by December 2008.
From the main page of the Lockheed Martin website, there is a link to a recently added [within the last week or so] Winter 2009 Fact Sheet that says:

The creek cleanup required removal of 300 mature trees.

The remaining cleanup activities include returning after the snow melts in Spring 2009 to seed grass along the creek and replant trees and seed grass in upland areas on the former Scully site.
No wonder there has been increased stormwater problems in that area of town...300 mature trees removed???

And isn't it interesting that they say they are finished except to replant trees and seed grass...Below are some pictures taken on February 15, you notice the big hole in the ground in Picture 1? Today, February 25, 2009, more truckloads of dirt were being carried away...a member of Concerned Citizens took photographs that will be online shortly. Just who is kidding whom?

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