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For Release: Tuesday, January 8, 2019

DEC Announces Completion of Removal of Contaminants from Brandy Brook and Pontiac Bay in Saranac Lake

Habitat and Site Restoration to be Completed this Spring

Work to remove contaminated soils and sediments from Brandy Brook and Pontiac Bay in the village of Saranac Lake is complete, the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) announced today. Under rigorous DEC oversight, remediation contractors removed and disposed of more than 18,000 tons of contaminated sediment from Pontiac Bay and 8,400 tons of contaminated soil and sediment from Brandy Brook.

DEC Region 5 Director Robert Stegemann said, "Whenever environmental cleanups are necessary, DEC's top priority is working with communities to ensure the area is properly restored and put back into productive use as quickly as possible. DEC worked closely with the village of Saranac Lake to undertake this cleanup and provide a cleaner environment that will benefit community residents, as well as local fish, wildlife, and plant populations. We also worked with the village and the Winter Carnival Committee to make sure the site was ready for the 2019 Winter Carnival. In response to their requests, we changed the final grade of the Ice Palace Parcel from two to one percent, changed the slope of the shoreline to facilitate removal of ice blocks, and ensured that the site was properly restored at the conclusion of construction activities."

During the cleanup, a portion of the DEC Lake Flower Boat Launch and the village's property adjacent to Pontiac Bay were used for processing sediment, transportation operations, and staging equipment. All structures and equipment have been removed from the boat launch and the adjacent park.

While parking was prohibited at the boat launch during last year's boating season, DEC kept the launch ramps open and leased the former Nona Fina Restaurant site to provide parking for vehicles with boat trailers.

Excavated areas were backfilled with sand, stone, and other clean materials that provide habitat for plants, fish, and wildlife. In addition, drainage swales and final elevations were restored during backfill activities, culverts were cleaned and upgraded, and fallen trees and other debris were removed from Brandy Brook, improving drainage around Pontiac Bay and the brook.

In Spring 2019, DEC will complete final restoration activities. Trees, shrubs, and other vegetation will be planted in and along the shores of the bay and banks of the brook. Topsoil will be put down and grass seeded on the village parcel, and paving and landscaping will be completed on the Lake Flower Boat Launch, including installing a fence along the boundary of the boat launch and the village park.

Saranac Lake Gas Company operated a manufactured gas plant (MGP) at the site off Payeville Road from the late 1800s to the 1940s, using coal gasification to produce gas for lighting and the village of Saranac Lake. This activity resulted in the generation of coal tar and other contaminants which were dumped into Brandy Brook and transported downstream and into Pontiac Bay of Lake Flower.

DEC continues to work on plans to address the contaminants present at the former MGP site. Fortunately, due to the local hydrology, these contaminants cannot enter Brandy Brook. The Saranac Lake MGP Remediation Project was funded by and conducted under the State Superfund program.

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    Ray Brook, NY 12977
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