Precious green belt threatened with tainted fill
By Willie Kiernan
A concerned citizen alerted the Department of Environmental Conservation of a possible spill in Cazenovia along Stone Quarry Road back in August. The DEC confirmed contamination and after questioning town highway employees, found other locations where the fill was used.
"The concentration levels are too high to be placed unrestricted in the environment, but they're not hazardous," said Liz Moran, Cazenovia Town Supervisor. "There's a very low probability that this material will migrate or accumulate in fish or plants or wildlife."
There were two major projects for the summer of 2006 for the highway department. One was the building up of Stone Quarry Road and the other was the demolition of the old town garage on Riverside Drive near the library parking lot. It was determined that asbestos was present in the roof of the old garage and a long and thorough process ensued to remove the roof materials safely. Cazenovia Highway Superintendent, Gary Stowell directed the concrete walls and flooring to be broken into manageable chunks.
"It was my professional opinion that a garage floor, after all these years, would be contaminated," Moran said. "I told Gary he should dump it in the county landfill."
According to town law, Stowell is an elected official and does not answer to the Town Supervisor. He chose to use the concrete chunks as fill.
Due to the rainy season, the slope on Stone Quarry Road needed to be fortified. The contaminated fill was placed along the side of the slope. Following this, a private citizen noticed petroleum in the stream along Stone Quarry Road. The DEC was notified and an investigation was opened.
According to the Town Board minutes taken at the Dec. 11 meeting, the DEC took samples and confirmed that there were hazardous materials at the Stone Quarry Road site and traced them back to the Town of Cazenovia Highway Department project. The contaminated material is laden with weathered petroleum products.