EPA asking Elmira Heights residents to test homes for vapor contamination
ELMIRA HEIGHTS, N.Y. (WENY) -- In 1983, the former Facet Enterprise building on Corning Road was put on the National Priorities List to address possible pollution at the industrial site. Since then, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has been back every five years to review the site to make sure it's safe for the environment and residents.
"The Facet Enterprise site has been remediated for years," said U.S. EPA public affairs officer, Mike Basile. "But what we're concerned about is the possibility that their ground water could be contaminated, and vapors may be coming into people's homes underneath their basements."
People could be at risk of coming into contact with volatile organic compounds, specifically TCE which is a chemical commonly used to remove grease from metal. They're asking to collect samples from houses located south of the site to check for any contamination.
"If they would give us access to their property, we can come into their basement, drill a hole into their foundation," said Basile. "We'll put in a tube and a canister, and over a 24-hour period test to see if there's any vapors coming in to their home that they're unaware of at the current time. The only way they can do that is to get access from them."
If there's contamination, they'll run a PVC pipe out of the basement floor of an affected home and, with a fan, blow the vapors into the atmosphere. All at no cost to the resident.
"Myself as a landlord, it's really important for me to make sure that I'm doing the best to protect my tenants and to protect my investment," said Shaun Marks with Sterling Property Management. "Knowing that the EPA is going to be able to take care of this testing for free, it wasn't going to affect my property, and it was ultimately going to put myself and my tenants in a better position."
If your house could potentially be affected, you'll have already received a packet in the mail. People are asked to sign the access agreement and send it back to the EPA. If you lost the form, you're asked to contact Mike Basile at the EPA at 716-551-4410.