BRIARCLIFF MANOR, N.Y. – Members of the Briarcliff Manor Board of Education said they are pleased after the state Department of Environmental Conservation and Department of Health approved the district’s plan to remediate the contaminated fields on the middle and high school campus.
DEC representative Steven Parisio recently told the board that the $1.9 million remediation plan, which includes using a natural turf cap to cover the school district’s practice and softball fields, has been approved The school board approved the plan in August, shortly after several residents made claims that the contaminated fields caused a cancer cluster in the district.
“Based on our review, which was carried out in consultation with the New York State Department of Health, it has been determined that the testing carried out at the site satisfies the requirements of the Order on Consent and that the remedial measures, which are proposed are protective of public health and the environment,” Parisio wrote in a letter to the school district.
The letter also noted that several modifications would be needed for full approval. But Parisio added that the changes were not significant.
“Since the comments do not require substantive changes to the proposed remedial measures, implementation of the (Remedial Action Work Plan) will not be delayed for acceptance of a revised document,” Parisio wrote. The letter can be viewed in its entirety on the school district’s website.
Tests in 2011 revealed higher than acceptable levels of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, or PAHs, according to state DEC standards, and also the presence of some metals, including lead and barium. PAHs vary from being nontoxic to highly toxic, and some PAHs are carcinogens.
The board recently issued a statement in response to Parisio's letter.
“Obviously, we are pleased to have received this affirmation from the DEC,” according to the statement. “As was explained in our recent mailer to the community, the next step will be to carry out the remediation plan, which starts with an additional, substantial layer of soil over the existing fields, construction of new play fields, and provision of additional vegetation on the side slope of the practice field.”
DEC officials noted that remediation would need to occur between November and March and that the softball field would need to be completed by Dec. 31, 2013, while the remediation of the practice field would need to be completed by Dec. 31, 2014.
“The Board of Education will schedule a community meeting on this matter before the end of the calendar year,” board members wrote in their statement. “This meeting will be organized and run by our professional team members from HDR Engineering, along with environmental attorney Michael Bogin, and is really for the purpose of walking our community through all of the anticipated steps of the remediation plan, including the monitoring that will take place during the process, truck trips, hours of operation, etc. This will give our community an opportunity to get answers to their questions about how the process will work.”