DEC and DOH announce expedited cleanup at high school

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Cleanup efforts for Elmira High School’s contamination, is happening sooner than expected.
New York state now says it will expedite the cleanup process.

Tonight, local residents were provided the opportunity to learn about the projects that are underway and the systems that are in place to protects students, faculty and nearby residents from contamination.

Some members of the public have been critical of the DEC’s handling of the issue so far, saying its taken too long. DEC representatives say it takes time.

“It takes time to put the science in place to fully understand where the contamination is that you have to remediate and then develop the appropriate clean up plans for that to happens.”, said DEC spokesperson Sean Mahar.

While clean up is important, reps say ensuring no one comes in contact with this hazardous waste is of most importance

 “As we know there’s contamination beneath the property, and were working with DEC and the district to make sure that gets cleaned up in the future. Right now there’s provisions in place to protect people from coming in contact with that contamination..”, says Public Health Specialist Justin Deming. 

As of right now, there are no indications that contaminants are migrating, however; cleanup actions in the upstream headwaters area are beginning in the fall of 2018 with final investigation activities in Coldbrook Creek scheduled for 2019. 

Many people appeared to be pleased with the actions that were taking place. Many said they believe tonight is a step in the right direction and are glad to see transparency. Mahar says the DEC takes this cleanup seriously. 

“We’ve heard loud and clear from the community that this is a priority and its been a priority of ours. So tonight we really want to show them,how we’re taking the steps to make that happen more quickly here at the site”.

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