WENY News - Cleanup Continues: DEC Officials Give Update on Elmira HS Contam

Cleanup Continues: DEC Officials Give Update on Elmira HS Contamination Removal Project

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ELMIRA, N.Y. (WENY) -- Cleanup continues at Elmira High School as the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation and Health Department work to remove contaminated soil. 

Over the summer months, remedial work has been done to remove 28,000 tons of polluted soil from under one of the parking lots and the bus loop at Elmira High School. Officials with the New York State DEC and DOH gave an update to district leaders during Wednesday's school board meeting. 

"Obviously it was a busy summer completing some of the cleanup activities at the parking lot area and wanted to just update the board that that was successfully completed and their Capital Improvement Project for the bus loop construction is underway now and going to be ready to go by the school year," says Sean Mahar, Assistant Commissioner of Public Affairs for NYSDEC. 

The company responsible for the cleanup (under a 2017 directive from the DEC), Unisys Corp., was able to expedite investigations on the athletic field, as well. While final results are still being determined, preliminary data shows turf and soil covers are preventing direct contact with contaminants beneath the surface. 

"Our goal is for this coming winter and spring to obviously take over that field and begin planning the designs and staging of the construction activities that will take place to guide the cleanup efforts," Mahar explains. 

Also over the summer, Unisys and district staff conducted a building-wide floor crack inventory and rating survey. Additionally, indoor air samplings were collected and tested for quality review. 

"We also did a comprehensive indoor air quality assessment really repeating a lot of the previous studies that we had done in response to a lot of questions we had received from the community and faculty. Everything checked out fine and we just wanted to update the board on that and let them know that everything's good and progress is still being made," Mahar says. 

A letter with the updated information is expected to be delivered to residents and parents soon. There are also plans for the DEC to hold another community meeting sometime next month, offering the chance for people to speak directly to officials about the cleanup project. 

Information about the project can be found on the DEC's website, just click here: https://www.dec.ny.gov/chemical/102390.html


RELATED COVERAGE: NYSDEC works to clear the air with EHS contamination problem

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