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Wastebed 13 plot thickens in Camillus

Last week's public meeting was supposed to provide residents with answers and reassurance that the plan to turn Wastebed 13 into a sediment consolidation area would be safe for the community.

But Camillus neighbors were left disappointed and frustrated.

The town of Camillus hosted a panel of NYSDEC, Department of Health and USEPA experts Feb. 11 to answer questions and address mounting concern for the health and safety of residents living in the neighborhood of Wastebed 13, a former Allied Chemical waste site on Airport Road.

Camillus town engineer Paul Czwerwinski first outlined some of the town's concerns, and presented an alternative -- using the sediment as fill for the Salina landfill, which needs fill in order to be closed. DEC Region 7 Director Ken Lynch then gave a presentation to address some of the most commonly asked questions in the last few weeks.

But outraged residents did not want to hear from the panel, they wanted answers from Honeywell, whose representatives they said had come into their homes and promised to pursue another option if they were presented with one.

Not long into the question-answer segment, Honeywell's Syracuse Program Director John McAuliffe left his seat in the audience to answer Jamie Abdo, who asked directly what the alternative plan was.

McAuliffe replied that no other viable option was being explored.

"So, you lied," Abdo replied, her sentiments echoed loudly by many in the crowd.

Though tension ran high among the group of about 200 residents, what could have easily deteriorated into a shouting match was ultimately unproductive for a different reason: the answers just weren't there.

A week earlier, roughly 100 Camillus residents attended the monthly meeting of the Community Partnership Working Group, set up by the DEC to field questions and concerns from the public. Residents posed their questions to the DEC and Honeywell, most touching on health safety concerns for the community, and were told the questions would be answered at the Feb. 11 meeting.

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