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For Release: Thursday, May 5, 2016

DEC Announces Results of Residential Soil Tests in Neighborhoods Adjacent to Corning-Painted Post High School

DEC, DOH and Corning Incorporated to Hold Public Meeting Wednesday May 11 to Discuss the Findings and Next Steps

Private Availability Sessions will be Held Thursday May 12 and Friday May 13 with Individual Residents to Discuss Their Property

DEC Accepting Public Comments on Interim Remedial Measures Proposed at Corning-Painted Post High School, Corning Memorial Stadium, and Corning Christian Academy

Through the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation's (DEC) ongoing investigation into contamination in the community around the Corning-Painted Post (CPP) High School, results of additional surface and subsurface soil tests at residential properties have been made available to property owners, DEC announced today. The tests were done to further characterize layers of fill containing ash, brick, or glass which contained contaminants including lead, cadmium or arsenic that were found at levels above State Soil Cleanup Objectives. These tests were performed as part of the ongoing development of remediation plans to address contamination in the area, implementation of which will be funded by Corning Incorporated, to protect public health and the environment.

The contamination was initially found as part of a Corning-Painted Post High School expansion project. Under a consent order with DEC, Corning Incorporated is performing an environmental study of fill soils that may be present at properties within the defined Study Area (bounded by Pyrex Street to the west, the Chemung River to the south, Post Creek to the east, and E. Pulteney Street to the north). The study began in July 2014 and the initial characterization of school and residential properties is largely complete.

Additional preliminary shallow evaluation work completed by DEC in the adjacent residential neighborhoods to the north and west of the Study Area identified the presence of similar target fill on multiple properties. DEC initiated a comprehensive characterization within the defined Expansion Area (residential properties west of Pyrex Street to Centerway and north of East Pulteney Street to Interstate Route 86) under the State Superfund Program in May 2015. Of the 219 properties sampled, there are a total of 133 residential parcels with contamination levels above Soil Cleanup Objectives.
State Soil Cleanup Objectives are set to levels at which health effects are unlikely to occur and are used to determine specified uses of a property as well as guide decisions to remediate soil pollution. These Objectives are set to protect public health and the environment from potential exposure to the contamination from everyday use of the land. DEC, the State Department of Health (DOH) and Corning Incorporated will hold a public meeting along with private availability sessions to discuss the details of the recent testing with residents, as well as the next steps for cleanup of the impacted properties in the Study and Expansion Areas.
Radisson Hotel, 125 Denison Parkway East, Corning, New York

  • Wednesday, May 11, 2016 - Public Meeting: 7:00 p.m. - 9:00 p.m.
  • Thursday, May 12, 2016 - Private availability sessions: 9:00 a.m. - 9:00 p.m.; and
  • Friday, May 13, 2016 - Private availability sessions: 9:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.

Residential Soil Test Findings

Property owners within the Study Area and Expansion area who had additional surface and subsurface soil samples taken were recently given their individual testing results and will have an opportunity to meet with representatives of the DEC, DOH and Corning Incorporated to discuss their individual results. An informational fact sheet that addresses these and other findings are being sent to the residents in the Study Area and Expansion Area, families of students who attend CPP High School and Corning Christian Academy, and local officials. It is also available online at DEC's website.

Reducing Potential Exposure and Future Cleanup Steps

Next steps are currently being developed to address residential properties with contamination and to reduce potential contact with contaminated soil in some residential yards. Corning Incorporated will develop and implement the necessary actions to address the contamination at these residential yards under the oversight of DEC and DOH at no cost to individual property owners. Some locations require further evaluation and investigation of the fill material beneath the ground surface in both the Study and Expansion Areas. Once this additional evaluation is completed, Interim Remedial Measure (IRM) Work Plans to address the potential for exposure will be developed and shared with public officials and the local community.

As the investigation continues, the state is reminding property owners that, in its current condition, contact with contaminated soil at these properties is possible in areas not covered with grass or pavement, especially if there is visible ash, brick and glass. DOH recommends that property owners follow the best practices described below to reduce any potential for exposure, including:

  • Wash with soap and water after gardening or any time before you eat;
  • Minimize children's direct contact with bare soil by laying down wood chips or maintaining grass cover, especially if soil contains visible fill material containing ash, brick or glass;
  • Plant vegetable gardens in raised beds with clean soil (at least 10 inches deep). Use untreated wood to make the beds. Pressure-treated wood and railroad ties contain added chemicals; and
  • Brush off soil from clothes and remove shoes and gloves before entering a home. Additional information about healthy gardening is available online at DOH's website. (link leaves DEC's website)

For more information on exposure, visit DOH's website. (link leaves DEC's website)

Public comments accepted on Interim Remedial Measure work plans

Draft IRM work plans, prepared by Corning Incorporated, describing the proposed cleanup activities for the Corning-Painted Post High School, Corning Memorial Stadium, and Corning Christian Academy are available for review and comment. These work plans will address shallow soils that contain contaminated fill outside of any previously installed cover systems. The draft IRM work plans propose:

  • Excavation and off-site disposal of contaminated soils in targeted areas to a maximum depth of two feet;
  • Placement of geotextile fabric;
  • Backfilling the excavations with certified imported soil that meets residential use criteria; and
  • Environmental Easements and a Site Management Plan.

How to Comment

DEC is accepting written comments about the proposed IRM work plans for 30 days, from May 4, 2016 through June 6, 2016. Project documents are available at the following location(s) to help the public stay informed:

Southeast Steuben County Library
300 Nasser Civic Center Plaza
Suite 101
Corning, NY 14830
Phone: (607) 936-3713
NYSDEC - Region 8 Office
Attn: Linda Vera
6274 East Avon-Lima Rd.
Avon, NY 14414

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