Skaneateles: Residents hear update on Stauffer site

The Skaneateles Town Board held a hamlet meeting July 29 at St. Andrews Church to hear an update on an issue that just hasn't gone away. When asked by town supervisor Terri Roney when cleanup of the former Stauffer site in Mottville would be completed, John Grathwol of the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) hesitated.

"I can answer why I'm having trouble answering that," he said. "It's because every step of the way we decide on these checklist items, Stauffer may disagree, but then pursue two or three of them."

The state says what Stauffer should do, "but it's still on their nickel, they have set resources." Grathwol made a rough estimate of five years -- and three to five years if Stauffer agreed to all of the DEC's suggestions.

Grathwol, who is with the DEC's Division of Hazardous Waste Remediation, has been in close communication with Roney over the cleanup's progress. He came to Skaneateles in May 2009 to provide an update that, after four years of silence, many felt was long overdue.

"Based on that meeting, the department of management expediated their review and we got it the next month," he said. Since submitting the letter to the DEC, which outlined extensively what needed to be done on the site, Stauffer has installed over 50 wells and over 150 borings (used for sampling soil).

"There's areas that have never been investigated before that Stauffer, on their own dollar, no state moneys, took forth and did the borings and wells," he said.

Grathwol pointed to new areas found to be containing chemicals -- including mercury and Xylene -- at various spots on a map of the region surrounding the Stauffer site.

"But the good news is it seems to be contained on this site," he said, adding that the chemicals are not going to migrate.

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