IDA expands TCE studies of Lee Ave. dump site

NORWICH - The wait could be over in a few more months for nine Ward 4 City of Norwich residents whose homes were approved earlier this year for toxic fume filtration systems.

Members of the Chenango Industrial Development Agency agreed Wednesday to add a half a million more dollars to a $245,000 contract made in 2005 with an environmental engineering firm that has been studying the affects and developing clean-up strategies of a decade old chemical spill near Lee Avenue. The amended agreement will cover the nine systems and indoor air sampling of 40 more structures in the surrounding neighborhood. It will also go toward the installation, sampling and analysis of monitoring wells.

A New York State Department of Environmental Conservation grant program has been picking up the tab for the work, along with a 10 percent match from the IDA. Executive Director Maureen Carpenter suggested several funding sources could be applied to the county’s portion of the estimated two-to-three year project, including the company responsible for the original chemicals and the New York Susquehanna & Western Railroad where they were dumped.

Officials attending the meeting yesterday said the aeronautics company, Hercules, Inc. – which previously occupied the now-vacant manufacturing facility located directly in front of the railroad tracks – cleaned the chemical site in the 1990s. In 2003, however, nearby homeowners and businesses began complaining of acrid fumes indoors. The DEC revisited the area in 2004, and after investigating 421 sites, identified soil-based trichloroethene (TCE) vapors in 10 of them.

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