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Environmental Cleanup at the Study Area - Corning

City of Corning, Steuben County

NYSDEC Project ID 851046

In July 2014, the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) signed an Order on Consent with Corning Incorporated to characterize the nature and extent of fill material in the at a site called the "Study Area", which is bounded by Pyrex St., East Pulteney St., Post Creek, and the Chemung River. DEC initiated characterization of the adjacent site named "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.

In addition to this site, other impacted properties across the City of Corning have been identified, and DEC has ongoing investigations to determine the appropriate approach and program (or programs) to investigate and clean up these other properties contaminated with fill containing glass, ash, and/or brick which are outside of the defined Study Area.

DEC has established this web page to provide the public with information about the Study Area investigation and remedial activities, and about other investigation activities planned and ongoing in the general Corning area.

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Latest News:

Visit our Public Availability Website & New Inquiry Hotline: www.StudyAreaCorning.com (link leaves DEC website)

Most Recent Fact Sheet / Newsletter:

Citizen Participation Plan and Study Area Community Liaison Plan:

Community Air Monitoring Data:

Note: The Community Air Monitoring Plan for OU1, OU2, and OU5 can be found in the "Study Area Pre-Design Investigation Work Plan Residential Areas (OU1, OU2, and OU5) - January 2018" (See section for Work Plans and Other Documents). Air Monitoring Data will be updated at the start of construction/PDI investigation activities.

Ongoing Remediation in the Study Area

DEC is committed to supervising a careful and thorough cleanup of the Study Area and other locations outside the Study Area which potentially have similar concerns. The investigation and cleanup are being completed to address potential exposure to contaminants above the NYS residential soil clean up objectives (primarily arsenic, cadmium, lead and semi-volatile organic compounds). 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, and children and adults should wash hands after outdoor activities. The use of doormats and periodic damp mopping of floors can 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 and, therefore, it is always a good idea to minimize getting soil onto the body whether it is contaminated or not.

Soil is being removed and disposed of at a permitted facility as part of the remedy. Groundwater at the site is not used as a public water supply. Drinking water provided to the residents of Corning is supplied by the City of Corning Water Department. The City of Corning Water Department complies with strictly-enforced standards established by the United States Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) and the New York State Department of Health (DOH). Results of routine water sampling and associated annual water quality reports are available online (link leaves DEC website).

Site Description

Site Location and Background

Map showing Operable Units of Study Area site

The site is located in the northeastern portion of the City of Corning, NY, bounded by the Chemung River to the south, Post Creek to the east, I-86 to the north, and Pyrex Street to the west. The Study Area includes a residential area consisting of 326 individual properties (OU1, OU2, and OU5); the Corning-Painted Post High School property (OU3); the Corning Christian Academy property (OU3); the City of Corning Memorial Stadium property (OU3); and flood control areas along the Chemung River and Post Creek (OU4).

The Site Characterization confirmed the presence of material containing ash, brick, and/or glass in various portions of the Study Area.

Soil and groundwater were analyzed for volatile organic compounds (VOCs), semi-volatile organic compounds (SVOCs), metals, polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), and pesticides. Based on the investigation, the primary constituents of concern are lead, arsenic, cadmium, and SVOCs.

Groundwater samples were collected from seven groundwater monitoring wells installed on school and City property, the school's irrigation well (used to water athletic fields as needed in dry weather), and an adjacent public water supply well. Groundwater monitoring to date has not identified levels of site-related constituents above groundwater standards. The area is served by public water and there are no private water supplies (other than the school's irrigation well).

Site History

The City of Corning has a long history of manufacturing and is world renowned for its glassmaking. The City of Corning was home to a large brick manufacturer and more than sixty (60) former glass manufacturers. The most enduring of these enterprises is Corning Incorporated, whose history dates to 1868 when the company founder established the Corning Flint Glass Works in Corning, New York. While the company has grown and expanded through the years and changed names to Corning Glass Works and currently to Corning Incorporated, the corporate headquarters has remained in Corning, New York.

Through a title search of property deeds, it was found that the Study Area was located on part of lands previously owned by Corning Homes, Inc., which had acquired these properties in 1920 from the heirs of the then-deceased founder of Corning Flint Glass Works. The deeds for these properties contained a condition that allowed Corning Glass Works to maintain structures, buildings and "ash dumps as now located" on the properties. Despite a thorough review of available historical documents and public records, Corning Incorporated has not, to date, located any maps or records that depict the potential location, if any, of the "ash dumps" as referenced in the deeds (i.e., as of 1920). In 1937, Corning Homes, Inc. sold portions of the properties with the same conditional language included, which has never been extinguished. Corning Homes, Inc. has no relation to Corning Incorporated or any of its predecessors.

Summary of Site Operable Units

The project has been divided into five 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.

The original Study Area project evaluated by Corning Incorporated under Consent Order with DEC consists of OU1 through OU4. The off-site Expansion Area, which was evaluated by DEC under the State Superfund program, is OU5.

  • OU1 - Residential Area: The primary residential area including Houghton Park and excluding OU2. It is bounded by school properties to the south, NYS Flood Control lands to the east, East Pulteney Street to the north, and Pyrex Street to the west.
  • OU2 - Residential Area at the Eastern End of Corning Boulevard
  • OU3 - School/Community Use Areas: Properties owned by the Corning-Painted Post School District, Corning Christian Academy, and the City of Corning (Memorial Stadium and land to the east of the firehouse).
  • OU4 - Flood Control Areas: The southern and eastern most portions of the Study area including flood control structures, levees, and adjacent portions of the Chemung River and Post Creek.
  • OU5 Residential Expansion Area: The residential areas immediately to the north and west of the boundaries of the Study Area. The Expansion Area is further bounded by I-86 to the north, Centerway (NYS Route 414) to the west, and the Guthrie Medical Center property to the south.

Map of Expansion Area Operable Units.
Study Area and Expansion Area Operable Unit Map

Upcoming Investigations in Corning, NY

A Site Characterization (SC) is DEC's first investigation of a site where hazardous waste has or may have been disposed of illegally or improperly. The goal of the SC is to determine whether a site meets the state's definition of a hazardous waste site by confirming or denying the presence of hazardous waste and determining whether the site poses a significant threat to public health or the environment. The SC is performed by DEC or the potentially responsible party under DEC's oversight.

A Class P site is a site or property under investigation in the form of a site characterization, where preliminary information indicates that a site may have contamination that makes it eligible for consideration for placement on the Registry of Inactive Hazardous Waste Disposal Sites (commonly referred to as the list of State Superfund Sites).

The following sites are currently under investigation. After the sampling is complete, Corning Incorporated will report the findings and work with the DEC, DOH, and the property owner to determine whether any further action is necessary.

Potential Areas of Concern.
Upcoming Investigations and Areas with Potential Concerns Map

Residential Study Area

Corning Incorporated is planning field investigations within the Study Area in 2020 to gather additional information to support property-specific remedial designs. Additional samples will be collected in areas where glass, brick, and/or ash have been identified or where previous sampling has indicated an exceedance of the residential soil clean-up objective.

In July 2020, a Draft ISMP (Interim Site Management Plan) for OU3 was prepared by Corning Incorporated, but has not yet been finalized (Section 1.6 Notifications and Appendix B Section 2 Notifications remain in draft form). The ISMP defines the inspection, reporting, and investigation requirements for OU3 and includes procedures for handling and disposing contaminated material. If contaminated material (i.e., ash, brick, glass) is encountered during a capital improvement project, Corning Incorporated, Corning Painted Post School District, Corning Christian Academy, and the City Corning must adhere to the ISMP and the Excavation Work Plan (Appendix B) to ensure the public and worker safety during investigation, delineation, removal, and restoration efforts. Furthermore, this ISMP will ensure a cover system is in place to prevent contact with the material.

For the Study Area, an ISMP is required during pre-design, design and remedial activities that are consistent with site management for properties (including rights of way and utility corridors). A Draft ISMP for Operable Unit (OU) Nos. 1, 2 and 5 was prepared by Corning Incorporated in February 2019, but has not yet been finalized (Section 1.6 Notifications and Appendix B Section 2 Notifications remain in draft form). The ISMP defines the inspection, reporting, and investigation requirements for OU Nos.1, 2 and 5 and includes procedures for handling and disposing contaminated material. If contaminated material (i.e., ash, brick, glass) is encountered during a capital improvement project, Corning Incorporated, the City Corning, and property owners must adhere to the ISMP and the Excavation Work Plan (Appendix B) to ensure the public and worker safety during investigation, delineation, removal, and restoration efforts. Furthermore, this ISMP will ensure a cover system is in place to prevent contact with the material.

Guthrie Center Way Property, Guthrie Clinic (North), City of Corning Fire Department, & Corning Mini Storage

These sites are located respectively at 130 Center Way (Site IDs 851051 and 851062), 2 Corning Boulevard (Site ID 851050), and 3656 State Route 414 (Site ID 851053), in Corning, NY. The studies will assess the nature and extent of target material (ash, brick, and/or glass) that may be encountered within the site and evaluate potential exposure pathways by completing soil borings in areas where this material may be identified with a thorough visual inspection and reporting of the materials encountered; collecting surface and subsurface soil samples as well as surface water and sediment samples for analytical testing; and installing and sampling groundwater monitoring wells.

Study Area OU4 - Chemung River Flood Control Area and Post Creek Areas

In November 2020, DEC accepted the Site Characterization Work Plan for OU4 Flood Control Areas (located on the online DEC repository of documents listed in the DECinfo Locator).

The purpose of this Site Characterization Work Plan is to characterize the entire OU4 Flood Control Areas to determine whether further remedial investigation is warranted. The characterization work began in Spring 2021 and is planned to continue through late Summer 2021.

Imported Material Testing

Material being brought in to backfill remedial excavation is tested for contaminants including emerging contaminants. Emerging contaminants include per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) and 1,4-dioxane. These compounds are human-made chemicals that have been widely used in industrial and commercial processes, in commercial and residential products (e.g., firefighting foams, carpeting, waterproof clothing). Imported material meets DEC and Department of Transportation (DOT) regulations prior to being used as backfill.

Other Locations Which Potentially Have Similar Concerns

DEC, along with DOH and New York State Department of Law (DOL), are responsible for ensuring the cleanup of inactive hazardous waste disposal sites across the state. Under New York State's Inactive Hazardous Waste Disposal Site Remedial Program, the process begins with the discovery of a potential hazardous waste site and follows a path of thorough investigation, remedy selection, design, construction and monitoring.

DEC is also working with DOH to determine the appropriate approach and program (or programs) to investigate and cleanup properties contaminated with fill containing glass, ash, and/or brick which are outside of the defined Study Area. In addition to the previous sites mentioned, DEC is pursuing Site Characterizations to be performed at several other locations (listed below), which are suspected of having target material similar to the Study Area.

Sites where site characterization investigations were performed in 2020 include:

  • Stewart Park Site Characterization (Site # 851060)
  • McKinney Park Site Characterization (Site # 851056)
  • William Street/Hillvue Park Site Characterization (Site # 851055)

Site investigations at the three parks (sites #851055, #851056, and #851060) began at the end of October and will be conducted through the month of November (2020). A report detailing the results and next steps is expected to be issued following the completion of this characterization work in Summer 2021, and after the receipt and validation of the associated analytical data.

DEC will keep the public informed throughout the additional investigation and cleanup with newsletters and updates to the DEC webpage. DEC will continue to evaluate any additional possible locations of historic waste disposal as we become aware of them.

DEC and DOH need your help, and ask for any information or feedback regarding these additional investigation areas, to please either:

The public should be aware that in areas where these materials have been encountered the remedial approach has generally consisted of:

  • Clean Cover Soil. A clean cover consistent with the current land use has been required (one foot for industrial or commercial; two foot for residential). Ash/brick/glass should not be left on the ground surface. Excavation and off-site disposal may be required to accommodate the cover.
  • A Site Management Plan (SMP). The SMP includes (but may not be limited to) an Excavation Work Plan which details the provisions for management of future excavations, including a provision to allow a residential property owner to dispose of inconsequential amounts of ash, brick and/or glass in household garbage; however, this provision is intended for the convenience of homeowners (as it is based on the Household Hazardous Waste Exemption under RCRA EPA's hazardous waste law).
  • Reduce Soil Contact. All soils contain naturally occurring metals and microorganisms and, therefore, it is always a good idea to minimize getting soil onto the body. 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, and children and adults should wash hands after outdoor activities. The use of doormats and periodic damp mopping of floors can help reduce exposure to outdoor soil that might be tracked indoors.

What is Exposure? (link leaves DEC's website)
Healthy Gardening (link leaves DEC's website)

In some cases, municipalities have entered into orders to properly manage the materials during capital improvement projects to take advantage of an exemption form hazardous disposal fees.

Current Project Status in the Study Area

In 2017, DEC issued a Decision Document requiring the remediation of residential properties to include the removal of soil up to two feet below ground surface (bgs) if it exceeds residential soil cleanup objectives or contains target material containing ash, brick and/or glass. The multi-year remediation effort began in 2018 with the remediation of three properties.

As part of the remedial design process, individual property owners are contacted and provided with proposed remedial design drawings. Staff from DEC and Corning Incorporated meet with residents to review these plans prior to the excavation and other remedial work. Property surveys also are completed to document property specific inventories of trees, sheds, fencing, decking or other unique property features. Property owners are encouraged to offer input on remedial design drawings, particularly with respect to restoration of their property. Once remedial design drawings are finalized and approved by DEC and the property owner, construction activities are scheduled.

An area-wide site management plan will apply to the full Study Area. Property owners with impacted soils remaining below a site cover system will receive an individual figure that will identify areas on their property with known remaining impacted soils and refer to the Study Area site management plan. Contact information will be provided in the individual plans for questions and assistance in following the site management plan. View a template for a Site Management Plan which would be used as a starting point to develop a specific plan for the Study Area:

DEC announced in 2017 that additional sampling would be occurring to complete the investigation in the portion of the Study Area where no layers of ash, brick and glass material had been found to date (this sampling would focus on areas where there are gaps in the existing data).


Next Steps for 2021 in Corning, NY

Residential Study Area

As with previously remediated properties, remediated areas are being restored in-kind to preexisting conditions, in consultation with each property owner. At the residential properties where contamination was found, additional characterization activities will continue as part of an approved Pre-Design Investigation (PDI) Work Plan that will assist DEC in defining the extent of soil contamination present. This investigation approach may result in several rounds of samples being collected from individual properties to clearly delineate excavation limits and ensure the cleanup is successful.

DEC and DOH will continue to oversee Corning Incorporated's remedial program, including completion and approval of the PDI sampling and Remedial Designs for residential properties within OU1, OU2 and OU5. Corning Incorporated is working on work plan deliverables, interim site management plans, and a site characterization work plan for OU4 - the Flood Control Areas. Environmental easement packages for all the OU3 properties are also being developed to require the completion and submission of a periodic certification that institutional and engineering controls remain in place, allow the use and development of the controlled property for restricted residential use and require compliance with the DEC approved Site Management Plan.

DEC is also working with DOH to determine the appropriate approach and program (or programs) to investigate and clean up properties contaminated with material containing glass, ash, and/or brick which are outside of the defined Study Area. DEC will keep the public informed throughout the additional investigation and cleanup with periodic newsletters.

OU3 Corning-Painted Post School District Property

In June 2020, DEC accepted the Soil Cover Sampling Work Plan which was implemented while school was out of session during the summer of 2020:

  • Corning-Painted Post School District Property Soil Cover Sampling Work Plan - June 2020 (PDF 63 MB)

The purpose of this Soil Cover Sampling Work Plan was to determine if the existing 1-foot cover meets the Restricted Residential Soil Cleanup Objectives (SCOs) and shows no evidence of Subject Material eliminating potential exposure pathways. The sampling work was completed in July 2020.

In October 2020, DEC accepted a Soil Cover Focused Soil Removal Work Plan to address semi-volatile organic compounds identified in a soil sample collected in the parking lot of the Corning-Painted Post School:

  • Soil Cover Focused Soil Removal Work Plan, October 2020 (PDF, 3.4 MB)

The Focused Soil Removal was conducted in October 2020. No other exceedances of DEC criteria were found during the Soil Cover Sampling work.

Additional Investigations in Corning, NY

All the sites with ongoing plans in 2021 for site characterizations are as follows:

  • 343 Woodview Avenue (Site # 851065)
  • 3510 West Road (Site # 851052)
  • Centerway Pedestrian Bridge Approach (Site # 851047)
  • Denison Park (Site # 851066)
  • Vine Street (Site # 851067)
  • City of Corning Sewer Right of Way (Site # 851057)
  • Connector Street (Site # 851064)
  • Guthrie Center Way Property (Site # 851051)
  • Guthrie Clinic North (Site # 851062)
  • City of Corning Fire Department (Site # 851050)
  • Corning Mini Storage (Site # 851053)
  • 3148 Van Etten Road Property (Site # 851061)
  • Conhocton Street (Site # 851063)
  • Corning Refractories (Site # 851048)
  • Steuben Glass/Corning Museum of Glass/Former Fulton St. Finishing Plant (Site # 851037)
  • South Corning Spoils Area/Caton Road (Site # 851068)
  • South Corning Rd. (Site # 851069)

Public Involvement

For more information on Public Involvement, past events, communications, meetings, fact sheet newsletters, and more site information, visit the Study Area Public Availability Website (link leaves DEC's website).

Document Access Information

Decision Documents, Work Plans, and Other Documents

The links below provide access to Work Plans and other main documents related to the site (the complete documents, consent orders, decision documents, and additional reports such as annual monitoring reports and superseded/interim documents, can be found HERE.

Complete copies of the documents listed on this web page and other documents pertaining to the Study Area Characterization, are available in hard copy for public review at the following locations:

  • Southeast Steuben County Library
    300 Nasser Civic Center Plaza
    Suite 101
    Corning, NY 14830
    607-936-3713
  • NYSDEC
    Region 8 Office
    6274 East Avon-Lima Rd.
    Avon, NY 14414
    Call ahead for an appointment
    585-226-5324

Additional information regarding the Study Area Characterization project may be obtained by:

  1. Contacting DEC's Avon Office at 585-226-2466 or DEC's Albany Office at 518-402-9814.
  2. Using the link to pertinent information from Corning Incorporated regarding the Study Area Characterization (provided in the right column at the top of the page under "Links leaving DEC's Website".
  3. Accessing the DECinfo Locator (https://gisservices.dec.ny.gov/gis/dil/), an interactive map that lets you access DEC documents and public data about the environmental quality of specific sites in New York State.
  4. Information on the state superfund program (Site Number 851046) at the following link:
    https://www.dec.ny.gov/cfmx/extapps/derexternal/haz/details.cfm?ProgNo=851046
  5. Reviewing the online DEC repository of documents listed in DECinfo Locator.

Project Management Contact Information

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

Kelly Cloyd, PhD.
NYSDEC
Division of Environmental Remediation
6274 East Avon-Lima Road; Avon, NY 14414
(585) 226-5351
Kelly.cloyd@dec.ny.gov

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

Scott Williams
NYSDEC
Division of Environmental Remediation
6274 East Avon-Lima Road; Avon, NY 14414
(585) 226-5448
Scott.williams@dec.ny.gov

For project investigation-related questions for additional areas to the Study Area, please contact the DEC Project Managers:

Jenelle Gaylord, NYSDEC, Division of Environmental Remediation
Project Manager for Guthrie Center Way Property, Guthrie Clinic (North), Connector St., and OU3 Interim Site Management Plan
625 Broadway, Albany, NY 12233-7017; (518) 402-9813; Jenelle.Gaylord@dec.ny.gov

Samantha Salotto P.E., NYSDEC, Division of Environmental Remediation
Project Manager for OU4 Flood Control Area, and CPP Cover System Evaluation, Corning Refractories, Steuben Glass/Corning Museum of Glass/Former Fulton St. Finishing Plant, Vine Street, 3148 Van Etten Road Property, and 3510 West Road
625 Broadway, Albany, NY 12233-7017; (518) 402-9903; Samantha.Salotto@dec.ny.gov

Brianna Scharf, NYSDEC, Division of Environmental Remediation
Project Manager for Corning Fire Department, Stewart Park, McKinney Park, William St Park, Conhocton St., Denison Park
625 Broadway, Albany, NY 12233-7017; (518) 402-5987; Brianna.Scharf@dec.ny.gov

Robert Strang, NYSDEC, Division of Environmental Remediation
Project Manager for Corning Mini storage Storage Site, Centerway Pedestrian Bridge Approach, 343 Woodview Ave., and Interim Site Management Plan for OU1, OU2, and OU5
625 Broadway, Albany, NY 12233-7017; (518) 402-9813; Robert.Strang@dec.ny.gov

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

Melissa Doroski, MPH.
NYSDOH
Project Manager for Study Area
Bureau of Environmental Exposure Investigation
Empire State Plaza - Corning Tower Room #1787, Albany, NY 12237
(518) 402-7860
Melissa.Doroski@health.ny.gov

Johnathan Robinson
NYSDOH; Bureau of Environmental Exposure Investigation
Project Manager for Corning Fire Department, Guthrie Center Way Property, Guthrie Clinic (North), Corning Ministorage, Study Area OU4 Flood Control Area, Stewart Park, William St. Park, and McKinney Park
Empire State Plaza - Corning Tower Room #1787, Albany, NY 12237
(518) 402-7860; Johnathan.Robinson@health.ny.gov