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Cold Spring Former MGP Site Cleanup Action Project

Project Funded Under State Superfund Program

Site Number: 340026 (Environmental Site Database Record)
Location: 5 New Street, Cold Spring, Putnam County NY 12302

Remedial Work at Cold Spring Former MGP Site

The NYS Department of Environmental Conservation ("DEC") is addressing the contamination related to the Cold Spring Former Manufactured Gas Plant (MGP) site ("site") located at 5 New Street, Cold Spring, Putnam County under New York's State Superfund Program. Documents related to past investigations and the cleanup of this site can be found at the location(s) identified below under "Where to Find Information." The site is listed as a Class "2" site in the State Registry of Inactive Hazardous Waste Sites (list of State Superfund ("SSF") sites). A Class 2 site represents a significant threat to public health or the environment; action is required.

Project Documents

Highlights of the Cleanup Action

The goal of the cleanup action for the site is to achieve cleanup levels that protect public health and the environment. The cleanup action for the site includes:

  • the demolition of the Village of Cold Spring Boat Club Building (Building) to make the source of contamination more accessible for removal during excavation activities;
  • the excavation and off-site disposal of MGP waste contaminated soil (source area) located beneath and east of the existing Building; and
  • the imposition of an institutional control in the form of an Environmental Easement that will provide for the continued monitoring of any remaining residual contamination, restrict the use of groundwater, and will require a site management plan (SMP) which will address any future site development, monitoring, and or maintenance activities.

A remedial construction contract was executed by the NYS Office of the State Comptroller on September 14, 2015 in the amount of $2,912,614.06. Completion of the work is anticipated in the Spring of 2016. Watermark Environmental from Lowell, Massachusetts is the remedial contractor.

Additional Details

The February 2010 Record of Decision requires that odors and vapors be controlled during excavation activities. To meet that requirement, Watermark has determined that they will be conducting the majority of excavation work underneath a temporary sprung structure (i.e. large tent).

In October 2015, office trailers were set up and staging of work equipment and materials onsite took place. During October and November 2015 DEC representatives met with Village of Cold Spring Officials and adjacent property owners within the project area to discuss the cleanup in more detail. In November 2015, the Cold Spring Boat Club building was demolished to allow excavation and offsite disposal of MGP impacted waste.

Next Steps

The installation of the sheet piling, needed to support the sides of the excavation, will be accomplished using vibratory methods to minimize noise and disturbances to the neighborhood. Initial activities will include limited soil excavation and sheet pile installation is scheduled to begin in early December 2015 and continue for approximately 4 weeks thereafter. Installation of the temporary sprung structure and excavation activities beneath the structure will follow. Note, work may be limited around the Christmas and New Year Holidays. Currently, onsite work hours are 6:30 am to 3:30 pm. Monday to Friday, but may change as winter progresses due to limited light hours in the morning.

After completion of the cleanup activities, the DEC will prepare a Final Engineering Report. The Final Engineering Report will describe the cleanup activities completed and certify that cleanup requirements have been achieved or will be achieved.


Location: This site is located at 5 New Street near the Hudson River in the Village of Cold Spring, Putnam County. The site occupies the eastern portion of a real estate parcel owned by the Village of Cold Spring.

Site Features: The site is vacant of any buildings and structures. A parking lot serving the Hudson House River Inn is also located on that parcel, just east of the former Boat Club building. The remains of the former MGP itself (approximately 0.2 acres) occupies a portion of that parking lot and the grass-covered area directly to the east.

Current Zoning and Land Use: The site is owned by the Village, and has been used until recently as a boat club (marina). Adjoining land uses include residential, park land, and commercial.

Past Use of the Site: A manufactured gas plant operated at this location prior to 1887. The MGP used a "coal carbonization" process which involved heating of coal in a closed vessel with minimal air contact, converting the coal to coke and releasing a combustible gas which was piped into the surrounding community for lighting, heating, and cooking purposes. The principal waste product was coal tar, which is a dark brown to black liquid with an objectionable odor similar to driveway sealer. Coal tar condensed from the hot gas produced by the plant as it cooled.

Although coal tar was typically considered a waste product, it was also sometimes used in
chemical processing and for wood treatment. This may be relevant at this location since the property across the street at One Main Street was historically a lumber yard. Historic information on the MGP operation at this site is sparse, due to the age of the facility. The MGP operated in the mid-to-late 1800's, and apparently ceased operations before 1887. The earliest available fire insurance map for the site, dated 1887, states that the retort building was vacant, which indicates that the plant was no longer operating at that time. The records of the New York State Public Service Commission, which are typically used to research the history of MGP sites, begin in 1907 and contain no reference to gas manufacturing operations in Cold Spring.

Site Geology and Hydrogeology: There are exposed rock outcrops along the southern site boundary. Soil thicknesses increases steadily to the north and west. The soils on the northern side of the site consist of historic fill material to a depth of 11-13 feet. This fill consists of a mixture of building debris, wood fragments, and loose soils which were placed on the site during historic times to level it for development. This fill is underlain by a clay layer which appears to be at least 15 feet thick, which in turn overlies the bedrock.

Both groundwater and surface water flow generally from the northeast to the southwest, toward the Hudson River.

Additional site details, including environmental and health assessment summaries, are available at:

Site Number: 340026 (link to Environmental Site Database Record)

Where to Find Information

General information about Manufactured Gas Plants

Project Related Questions

David J. Chiusano
Department of Environmental Conservation
Division of Environmental Remediation 625
Broadway, 12th Floor
Albany, NY 12233-7017

Site-Related Health Questions

Stephanie Selmer
New York State Department of Health
Corning Tower Room 1787
Albany NY 12237

Document Repositories

Village of Cold Spring
Attn: Village Clerk
85 Main Street
Cold Spring, New York 10516
Telephone: (845) 265-3611 (link leaves DEC's website)

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