Department of Environmental Conservation

D E C banner

For Release: Tuesday, July 1, 2014

DEC Announces Work Plan and Consent Order With Corning Incorporated

to Test Soil in CPP East High School and Nearby Neighborhood
Elevated Levels of Lead and Other Metals in Soil Discovered During School Expansion Project

DEC, DOH and Corning Incorporated Will Hold Public Meetings to Discuss the Upcoming Study and Answer Questions

A study will be conducted at the Corning-Painted Post East High School and nearby properties to evaluate soil conditions on these properties, the State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) announced today.

Under a consent order with DEC, Corning Incorporated will perform an environmental study of fill soils that may be present on properties within the study area. The study will begin next week and is expected to last through the summer.

The need for a study area characterization was prompted by findings of elevated levels of lead and other potential contaminants in fill encountered during soil excavation undertaken as part of the Corning-Painted Post East High School expansion project. Portions of the excavated fill were found to contain ash, glass and brick, which contained hazardous levels of lead and cadmium. This fill required special handling and disposal. Other metals were also identified in the fill at levels that warrant additional characterization but did not exceed levels considered to be hazardous waste.

"Under the consent order with DEC, Corning Incorporated will perform a study area characterization to evaluate soil conditions at the East High School and nearby properties," DEC Regional Director Paul D'Amato said. "DEC will keep families and staff informed of findings and activities for every step of this process."

The study area characterization will help determine the nature and extent of fill in the study area and whether people have the potential to come in contact with this fill. Once that information becomes available, DEC and DOH will conduct an evaluation to understand whether there are any environmental or public health concerns, and will determine if remedial actions to reduce exposures are necessary.

"Corning Incorporated is committed to protecting the environment, health and well-being of the communities where we work and live," Mark Cates, director, Corporate Environmental Control, said. "We are working with the NYSDEC and NYSDOH, along with property owners, to conduct environmental sampling to determine whether fill material is present in the study area, and if any further actions are necessary. We have developed an environmental sampling program that emphasizes community engagement and minimizes disruption in the neighborhood."

The study area is located in the northeastern area of the City of Corning. It is 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.

DEC and DOH will oversee the study, which will include soil and groundwater testing, along with a search of historical records, to identify potential contaminants present in fill on the school property and in the adjacent properties. Based on these results, DEC may seek approval to test some residential and privately owned properties in the study area if the fill is determined to be present. Property owners in the study area can contact the DEC to request that their property be tested.

Upon completion of the study, DEC and DOH will evaluate the data to determine the next steps, including whether any cleanup measures or other remedial actions are necessary to protect public health and the environment. The results of the study and any recommended remedial actions will be communicated to property owners and the public.

There will be no cost to individual property owners for any study or subsequent cleanup activities that may be undertaken at their property, unless they are found to have caused the contamination, which is not expected. However, the property owner will be requested to consent to access.

DEC, DOH and Corning Incorporated will hold two public meetings to discuss details of the upcoming investigation and answer public questions:

  • Tuesday, July 15, 6:30 p.m. at the Radisson Hotel, 125 Dennison Parkway East. This meeting is for general information regarding the upcoming Study Area Characterization
  • Thursday, July 17, 3 - 5 p.m. and 6 - 8 p.m. at the Radisson Hotel, 125 Dennison Parkway East. Meeting and availability sessions for residents in the Study Area and other interested parties to speak one-on-one with state and Corning Incorporated representatives

An informational fact sheet and frequently asked questions about the site and upcoming investigation are available on DEC's website.

The NYSDOH recommends best practices (described below) be followed to reduce the potential for exposure any time people are concerned that soil may contain man-made or naturally occurring contaminants.

  • 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.
  • Consider growing vegetables 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.
  • Brush off your soil from your clothes and remove shoes and gloves before entering your home. Find additional information about healthy gardening at http://www.health.ny.gov/publications/1301/ (leaves DEC's website).

See more information on exposure on the DOH website.

  • Contact for this Page
  • Press Office - Emily DeSantis
    625 Broadway
    Albany, NY 12233-1016
    518-402-8000
    email us
  • This Page Covers
  • Page applies to Region 8