Boards in brief: Protect the air, protect Camillus

Camillus does not have to wait until the next Wastebed 13 open house with the DEC to be heard -- thanks to Mark Tracy, resident of Golden Meadows and research engineer at Lockheed Martin.

Tracy came to the July 27 town board meeting after talking with the DEC about the project's safety measures.

"I just wanted to alert the board to a potential issue, I think, with the air quality monitoring program with Wastebed 13 and ask for your help," he said.

Tracy talked with Tim Larsons, the project manager from the DEC, and Bob Edwards and discovered that the level to which the site's air will be monitored now, before construction starts, is 1,000 times less sensitive than mandated by the EPA's Human Health Risk Assessment.

From their discussion, Tracy found that the monitoring was being done for community safety and not just onsite worker safety.

Tracy reported saying to Larsons, "If [the air sensors are] for community safety then you would admit that if you're testing for volatile organic compounds there's a possibility of that?"

Larsons said no to this question but could not guarantee the construction over the next two years would not elevate volatile organic compounds at a level of one-to-two parts per billion.

Tracy was concerned that without proper testing equipment in place now, the public might be led to believe that high levels of chemicals -- if found during or after the construction of the sediment consolidation area -- had been there all along.

"I think there is a huge liability from a community standpoint here if we don't push back now and ask them to do an accurate [baseline test], now before they start any activity up there," Tracy said.

Based on Tracy's comments to the board, the DEC's current plan appears to be an attempt to appeal to the community's demand for air quality monitoring. Whether the DEC is using the proper equipment is up for question.

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