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Former Geneva Foundry Site

City of Geneva, Ontario County

DEC Project ID B00019

DEC Project ID C835027

DEC Project ID C835027A

Historical operations of the former foundry located on Jackson Street in Geneva, New York, resulted in the contamination of the foundry site as well as soils in the surrounding area. In 2018, the City of Geneva completed on-site remediation and re-grading of the on-site area in preparation for future redevelopment. DEC initiated cleanup activities of the off-site area in 2017 and anticipates completion of this work by the end of 2023.

Connect with DEC - we welcome your input

The DEC, DOH, and consulting teams welcome any feedback, information, questions, or comments you may have for us:

  • Email us at; or
  • Call the Community Liaison for the Former Geneva Foundry Site at 716-462-2301

Latest News:

Most Recent Fact Sheet / Newsletter available in English and Spanish translation:

Ongoing Remediation in the Study Area

DEC is committed to supervising a careful and thorough cleanup of the project area. The investigation and cleanup are being completed to address potential exposure to contaminants above the NYS residential soil clean up objectives (SCOs), including arsenic and lead. People may come into incidental contact with contaminants present in soils through home maintenance and recreational activities. Maintenance of a grass or mulch cover will help prevent direct contact with the soil. Unnecessary digging in the dirt should be avoided in areas that have not been remediated, and children and adults should wash their hands after outdoor activities. The use of doormats and periodic damp mopping of floors can also help reduce exposure to outdoor soil that might be tracked indoors. It's important to note that all soils contain naturally occurring metals and microorganisms. Therefore, it is always a good idea to minimize getting soil onto the body whether it is considered contaminated or not. It is also important to understand that there is not a "bright line" between chemical concentrations in soil that do or do not cause adverse health effects. Possible health effects are influenced by a variety of factors including an individual's sensitivity and exposure. For more information about exposure and possible ways to minimize exposure, please refer to the following DOH links:

Property owners and tenants within the designated project cleanup area whose properties are pending cleanup and are concerned about possible direct exposure to exposed soil should contact DEC's Community Liaison at 716-462-2301. Where appropriate, DEC will implement short-term mitigation measures to cover exposed soil until property cleanup can occur.

Map of the Former Geneva Foundry project on-site and off-site areas. Map of the Former Geneva Foundry project on-site and off-site areas and status of off-site cleanup activities.

Site Description

Location and Background

The site is located just north of downtown Geneva, New York. The on-site area, the site of the former foundry's operations, includes two parcels located along Jackson Street between Exchange Street and the Finger Lakes Railway line. The off-site area includes 244 individual properties, mostly residential but also including several churches, businesses, and a public park. The off-site area extends from properties located south of Lewis Street to properties north of State Street, and from properties west of Genesee Street to properties east of Wadsworth Street (see map on this page).

The Geneva Foundry and its predecessor operated on the Jackson Street site from about 1868 until 1988. Part of the site was a coal yard prior to the 1940s. To melt iron and cast-iron objects, the foundry burned coal, and later, coke, mixed in layers with iron (unrefined and scrap metal) and flux in a cupola-type furnace. The first air emissions controls were installed on the Geneva Foundry stack in 1970 and were inadequate. Air emissions of ash particles from the foundry stack settled on the surrounding neighborhood in the vicinity of the foundry. The fly ash particles contained variable concentrations of metals, of which lead and arsenic are the contaminants of concern. For more information about metalworking in Geneva, visit the Geneva Historical Society's website (link leaves DEC's website).

Summary of Site Operable Units

The project is divided into three operable units as listed below.
An operable unit (OU) represents a portion of a remedial program for a site that for technical or administrative reasons can be addressed separately to investigate, eliminate or mitigate a release, threat of release or exposure pathway resulting from the site contamination.

  • OU1: 23 Jackson Street (On-Site Area South of Jackson Street)
  • OU2: 44 Jackson Street (On-Site Area North of Jackson Street)
  • OU3: Off-Site Remedial Area

Site History

OU1 and OU2 (On-site Areas)

Operations at the Geneva Foundry ceased in 1988. The City of Geneva acquired the property in 1998 and entered the Environmental Restoration Program. The city subsequently removed drums and other containers of wastes and hazardous substances and removed buildings from the site in 2005, leaving concrete slabs and foundation walls.

Aerial view of the former foundry.
Former Geneva Foundry on Jackson Street ca. 1980. View to the northwest.

The results of soil sampling conducted in 2006 in 2008 were used to inform more detailed soil sampling by DEC in 2015, at which time new technology expedited DEC's ability to define the boundary of the off-site area. In January 2017, DEC issued a Record of Decision that presents the remedy selected to address contamination for both the on- and off-site areas associated with the former Geneva Foundry.

For OU1, the primary soil contaminants were polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), chromium, lead, and mercury. For OU2, the primary soil contaminants were chromium and mercury. Investigation did not identify any impacts to groundwater from OU1 or OU2.

In 2017, the City of Geneva became a volunteer in the Brownfield Cleanup Program and in 2018 completed on-site remediation meeting the requirements of DEC's ROD. Soil that did not meet the standards for restricted residential use was removed from the site and replaced with clean soil. The clean soil was used to establish a two-foot-thick cover across the site, in combination with native soils that met SCOs. Asphalt pavement was used as cover in a small area.

The City of Geneva recorded an Environmental Easement on the site, which restricts the site's future use to restricted residential use, though commercial or industrial use could be permitted based on local zoning. DEC and DOH approved the city's Site Management Plan (SMP) and Final Engineering Report and issued a Certificate of Completion in March 2019. The site is being managed by the city under the approved SMP, with DEC oversight.

OU3 (Off-Site Remedial Area)

The primary contaminants of concern for OU3, the off-site remedial area, are lead and arsenic. Lead and arsenic associated with deposition of particulate matter from air emissions at the foundry are found in surface soil in the surrounding area extending up to approximately 1,300 feet from the site. Other sources of lead and arsenic that are not site-related (lead-based paint, coal ash and other historical fill, internal combustion engine exhaust, other industrial operations, etc.) also contribute to off-site lead and arsenic concentrations.

Remedial construction activities on properties in the off-site remedial area began in 2017, following the remedy presented in the January 2017 ROD. Detailed soil sampling is conducted on each off-site property, and all impacted soils with lead and/or arsenic concentrations exceeding residential SCOs for lead and arsenic, as defined by 6 NYCRR Part 375-6.8, are being excavated and transported off-site for disposal. The majority of impacted soil is being beneficially reused as alternate operating cover at the disposal facility.

Current Project Status

OU3 (Off-Site Remedial Area)

Cleanup activities for the 2022 remedial construction season ended in December 2022 with the onset of winter weather. DEC has now completed investigations and/or cleanups of 202 properties in the off-site remedial area and issued "No Further Action" letters to the owners (see map above). A total of approximately 78,000 tons of impacted soil and other debris has been removed.

Soil removal and property restoration activities will resume in the off-site remedial area in early spring 2023 and are expected to continue to December 2023, weather permitting. DEC is meeting with owners of properties identified for remediation to review and discuss their soil data, the proposed remedial and restoration activities, and to confirm their consent for property access to allow remediation to take place. Up to 38 properties are anticipated to be cleaned up in 2023 (see map above) with an estimated 13,000 tons of impacted soil and other debris to be removed.

DEC anticipates that cleanup of off-site properties will be completed by early 2024.

Public Involvement

For more information on Public Involvement, past events, communications, meetings, fact sheet newsletters, and more site information, visit the DECinfo Locator.

To learn more about the remedial construction process, review these informational posters:

The Remedial Construction Process, What to Expect During Construction, and Sample Remediation Photos (PDF, 2.6MB)

Document Access Information

Decision Documents, Work Plans, and Other Documents

Project documents are available at these locations to help the public stay informed:

  • Geneva Public Library
    244 Main Street
    Geneva, NY 14456
  • NYSDEC, Region 8 Office
    6274 East Avon-Lima Road
    Avon, NY 14414
    Call ahead for an appointment

Additional information about the project may be obtained by:

  1. Accessing the DECinfo Locator, an interactive map that lets you access DEC documents and public data about the environmental quality of specific sites in New York State.
  2. Reviewing DEC's online Document Folder for the project.

Project Management Contact Information

For project-related questions, contact the DEC Project Manager:

David Chiusano
NYSDEC Division of Environmental Remediation
625 Broadway, Albany, NY 12233-7017
(518) 402-9813

For project-related health questions, please contact the DOH Project Manager:

Tony Perretta
Bureau of Environmental Exposure Investigation
Empire State Plaza - Corning Tower Room #1787, Albany, NY 12237
(518) 402-7860

For other inquiries, please contact DEC's Community Liaison:

Bob Gibson
Ecology and Environment Engineering and Geology, P.C.
(716) 462-2301