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Hastings Waterfront Receives Record of Decision

HASTINGS-ON-HUDSON, N.Y. – The waterfront cleanup project in Hastings took another step forward recently when the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation announced its Record of Decision (ROD) for the offshore portion of the site.

“It’s a broad brush description of what level of metals they want the contamination reduced to, how and where generally the remediation should happen and it provides the framework (British Petroleum) then takes to begin the engineering work over the next year and a half where they actually design how this is going to happen,” said Hastings Mayor Peter Swiderski.

While Swiderski said he is excited about this next step, he said former trustee and waterfront representative for the board Jeremiah Quinlan has told him to remain realistic.

“Jerry has told me to moderate my expectations for a year and a half or it might be longer if there are complications, but we’re hopeful,” he said.

Among the remedies in the ROD will be the installation of a sheet pile wall in the Hudson River to “provide containment and allow for the recovery of liquid” polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) on the northwest corner of the site.  The ROD said this will include 0.88 acres of fill in the river behind the wall.

PCBs are used as insulators for high voltage cables and these contaminants can be found in the water in the form of liquid, semi-solid and traces.  This pollution was a byproduct of a cable company and other factories that operated at the old Harbor on Hastings site.

PCB found in sediment and fill with concentrations greater than one part per million along with copper, zinc and lead concentrations above certain levels will be removed from a depth of 6 feet of water.  This will go as far out as approximately 60-80 feet from the shoreline and along approximately 2,000 feet of the shoreline.

There will also be the removal of sediment from an area outside the northwest extension area in water deeper than 15 feet with PCB concentrations of more than 50 parts per million to a depth of 6 feet.

During this there will be sampling of other areas to determine where high concentrations of PCB may need to be removed as well.

The northern 28 acres of the site is owned by BP and the southern 14 acres is owned by Chevron and Exxon, with eight of that owned my Exxon.  Swiderski said Exxon has already been at work cleaning up its part of the project, removing contamination mostly from gasoline tanks that had leaked.  This summer, Exxon will remove trees that have sprouted up in the area and will also lay 2 feet of fill.

“We will actually have an unreachable, unusable portion of the waterfront completely clean,” Swiderski said of the piece of land bordered by the Hudson River, BP’s land and Chevron’s land on all sides.  “It’s an exciting prospect.  A part of our waterfront will actually be clean.”

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