Hastings residents were informed of the unique pollution problems that plagues their area along the Hudson River Wednesday, during a meeting to discuss the Harbor at Hastings cleanup project. Although it has boasted many successes in the cleanup process, the initiative continues to face new developments in the laundry list of contaminates that can be found at the site.
"This material [in the water] is unlike anything else in New York State," said George Heitzman, who's been one of the cleanup project managers since 1998. "It is a very unique chemical to this site."
The numerous issues that the project faces were presented by a panel of experts and project members at the James V. Harmon Community Center. According to specialists, the accumulation of polychlorinated biphenyl in the Hudson River is among the site's largest issues. Polychlorinated biphenyls are used as insulators for high voltage cables and these contaminates can be found in the water in the form of liquid, semi-solid and traces.
"There were so many technical issues," Heitzman said. "We just wanted to lay the groundwork tonight."
The area of the cleanup site consists of 28-acres that were once host to a manufacturing facility. Heitzman said that it is a historic building with poor structural properties that hasn't been used in years. Still, the traces of polychlorinated biphenyls have been found on the shore anywhere from 20-35 feet deep into the water.
In 2006 liquid forms of polychlorinated biphenyl were found in a well on the shoreline, which is what helped spark a plan to rid the area of such contaminates. In 2008 a liquid recovery stage began and in 2010 additional polychlorinated biphenyl recovery wells were installed, with even more added last month. Approximately 150 gallons of these contaminates have been recovered from the five wells since 2008.
"We've learned a lot over the last year or two on how to pump it out," Heitzman said.
A few ideas have been proposed as the village decides the best course of action to continue cleanup. Creating an original bulkhead alignment was the first proposed idea, which essentially would be a vertical wall built on the shore. There was also a capping slope back and the idea for an extension in the northwest section of the site. With the extension, the project would actually extend the shoreline and build land on top of these contaminates. This alternative was referred to as a last resort though, but it's still being considered due to its various advantages.
What concerns do you have with the contamination along the Hastings shoreline?
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