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At of the completion of activities in the Air Deposition Area this year (2020), the NYSDEC will turn the effort over to FMC for future property remediation with DEC approvals and over-site. Under the new Consent Order, FMC must agree to DEC terms and requirements although negotiations during planning stages will continue. FMC will present remedies to the DEC but the latter can override them and select their own. FMC will then have to follow through with remediation per the DEC ruling.
In 2021, FMC has plans to be prepared to remediate any of the properties left in the Air Deposition Area whose owners have refused remediation in the past. There are 26 of these properties. There is one of these properties with a new owner who has asked their property be remediated. There is also one property bordering the area who has requested remediation because of marginally elevated contamination. FMC will continue to ask owners who have refused if they have changed their minds as well as ask new owners of unremediated properties.
It should be noted that aside from the two properties to be remediated in the Air Deposition Area mentioned above, there have not been approvals to proceed from property owners in other areas which will be required. FMC has created preliminary plans on what they expect they can do in the future as outlined below but actual construction cannot begin without approvals. If approvals are not obtained for some, schedules for other activities could be moved up. The DEC must also approve FMC's plans and modifications are possible. In some cases there may be discussions between FMC and the DEC concerning the best way to proceed which may change plans.
The Norco property will be addressed in 2021 if access can be obtained. The buildings could be demolished and remediation of soil would begin. Mayor Westcott stated there is a party interested in the property once cleared and cleaned to use for light industrial activity.
Culvert 105 from the north side of the canal to the north side of the Maedl apartment complex not already remediated is scheduled for 2021. North of that could be done in 2022. The remedial design is currently under way.
A portion of the farm land east of the village and west of the county line might be started in 2021, with most planed for later years if approval given. Excavation may be done in high contamination areas with the tilling/blending method possible in lower contaminated areas. It should be noted that at this time only a small portion of that farm property is identified for remediation. Also the field east of Middleport, north of Route 31E and west of the county line is currently in design phase with construction targeted for 2022.
The DEC has published their Preliminary Statement of Basis (PSOB) for Operational Unite 3 (OU3) which are the areas east of the Niagara/Orleans County line between routes 31 and 31E, farm fields north of the canal between Middleport and the county line and the north and south side canal banks. Sampling has been done in those areas and the DEC has proposed a remedy that will reduce the level of arsenic below 20 PPM for unrestricted use. FMC had proposed either no action or cleanup to a restricted use of agricultural/industrial/commercial use. These lands consist of farm fields currently used as such, heavily wooded areas, and canal banks including the tow path. There are no roads into these areas that would lend themselves to future residential development. The DEC is currently seeking comments to their Statement of Basis until November 16, 2020. Although the DEC is seeking comment now and will make their decision on the remedy next year, FMC's plans are not to begin design and construction until 2026,
The tributary creek south of Pearson road is in the design stage with planed construction beginning in 2023 and going out to 2029. FMC is negotiating with the DEC to select a remedy that does not destroy the wet areas and natural wild habitat in the non residential areas. The effort north of Pearson Road is planed for 2029 and beyond with negotiations and design in the preceding years.
The R&D area south of the FMC plant on Route 31, is currently being used by the DEC as a staging site for their remediation efforts. They also have some office space there. Once FMC can gain access, a study will begin with remediation planed for 2026 and 27.
On another topic, FMC is expanding some production lines as business continues to improve at the plant. Construction of new buildings to house offices and labs is still a couple of years out.
Posted by: BillA on Oct 22, 2020 - 10:41 PM
Click on the following links to download the announcements that were published in news media or other entities:
Lockport Union Sun & Journal
Gov Cuomo's office
These announcements, for the most part, paint FMC as the bad guys and New York State as the heroes. FMC has basically waved the white flag. The DEC had made doing business in the state and especially in Middleport very difficult with increased and excessive inspections, cited violations and fines. Since acquiring DuPont's agricultural business, FMC wanted to move that activity to the Middleport plant and plans to expand the facility with capital improvements. FMC believes that with this settlement, the working environment between themselves and New York State will improve allowing them to continue in Middleport.
The agreement is a new Order of Consent that includes various fines and commitments as listed in the announcements. Another one that was not included in the announced material is that in any year there is remediation effort by FMC, the company must spend 10 million dollars on that effort or be fined.
Law suits between FMC and New York State DEC have been dropped.
The DEC will continue the cleanup in the Air Deposition area including the school which should end at the conclusion of the 2020 construction season. Starting in 2021 FMC will do all the remediation work with over-site by the DEC. These areas will include Culvert 105, the Jeddo Creek Tributary from Francis St. to Lyndonville (if necessary) and areas east and north of the village.
It remains to be seen if this agreement will improve the working relationship between FMC and New York State.
Posted by: BillA on Jun 08, 2019 - 01:24 AM
A new remediation project coordinator was introduced. Elizabeth (Liz) Madara will be assuming those duties replacing Nick Schapman. Nick came on board just a year ago. Liz has a background as an environmental consultant.
The DEC will continue to remediate the Air Deposition Area and the school yard in Middleport during 2019 and 2020 without FMC. Although the Agency has announced only one more phase for school remediation, it was thought that there is too much area to cleanup for it to be completed in 2019, so there may be some amount of work to do in 2020. It was also mentioned that the school has some issues with the DEC plan concerning accessibility to certain areas of the campus during the remediation process.
After the Air Deposition Area is completed it is believed the DEC will be remediating Culvert 105 between Sleeper St. and the sewage treatment plant along with any areas of the culvert not already done between Sleeper and the canal. This activity will also be performed without FMC. There is no schedule for this. The culvert south of the canal will be done as individual properties that the underground culvert passes through are remediated.
FMC continues to work with the DEC and EPA on Jeddo Creek and its tributary that runs through Middleport. FMC has submitted the Corrective Action Measures for the tributary but the DEC/EPA have asked for revisions. The two sides could not come to an agreement so they are in dispute resolution. It is now doubtful that any work can begin in 2019.
A proposal for the eastern area of the FMC plant (past proposed site for the CAMU) was submitted to the Agencies on December 29, 2017, but there has been no feedback.
The Administrative Judge is continuing to review the submitted briefs supporting or opposing the Hazardous Waste Management Facility Permit Application. These briefs were to be submitted by last spring. The permit, if so ordered, will replace the AOC (Administrative Order of Consent) that FMC and the Agencies are currently working by and will continue to until the status of the permit is resolved.
FMC had begun some sampling activities along the Jeddo Creek north of Pearson Rd but stopped when hunting season began . They will resume next spring. Any sampling results obtained so far have been submitted to the Agencies.
FMC has added three new product lines at the Middleport plant and are in the process of adding a fourth. These lines are from product acquisitions from Dupont. There was a 55% increase in production of their product Command. FMC has invested 3 million dollars in plant improvements in 2018 and plan to invest 8 million in 2019. There is also a plan on the table to construct a building to house new labs and offices. The intent is to become more than just a manufacturing site. They would like to be able to demonstrate products to potential customers at the plant.
Posted by: BillA on Dec 06, 2018 - 12:57 AM
Preparation and the installation of a work area fence behind the high school will begin in November with major soil removal beginning in April, 2019, continuing through October, 2019. Soil removal will begin behind the high school, moving to the front of both schools during summer recess to minimize the impact on the function of the school. During school hours, work will not begin before 8:00 AM. Air monitoring will be performed during work hours.
To view the DEC flier describing the activity click here.
Posted by: BillA on Nov 08, 2018 - 05:44 PM
The DEC want to get permission, if they can, on these remaining properties so they can sample and develop plans for remediation over the winter. However only about 30 properties will be remediated in 2019 with the rest being done on 2020. It should be noted there will probably be some owners who will refuse. Although the request for access from the DEC includes sampling and remediation, owners are still allowed to opt out at any time during the process. They may write on the agreement what they are agreeing to before signing and returning the request.
There is no way to know at this time how many owners will refuse but there most likely will be some. Note that for this year's activity, the refusal rate on Main St., south of South St., was above 50% who declined. However that rate on Hammond Parkway was around 10%.
On another front, FMC sent letters during the summer to property owners along the Tributary and its flood plain north of Pearson Rd to Mill Rd near Marshall in Orleans County. Theses areas are refereed to as Operable Units 7 and 8. The intent is to gain access to survey boundaries and mark drainage areas as well as gain knowledge of the property's history. FMC has already filed a preliminary sampling plan with the DEC. Unlike the Air Deposition Area, FMC is executing the survey and sampling. It remains to be seen who does any subsequent remediation.
The DEC has not announced their plans for next year's activity at the school, but it's most likely the areas in front of the two buildings will be remediated. Remaining would be areas west and south of the high school. The DEC has planned on two more phases at the school.
Posted by: BillA on Nov 02, 2018 - 07:25 PM
They planed on starting mid June but there has not been much activity as of June 30. The excavation work and back fill is suppose to be completed by September. Restoration will be performed during the fall.
Some 8300 cubic yards of soil will be removed east and south of the Middle School along with the existing playground area. A temporary fence will surround the work area. The truck route during the summer while school is out will run through the parking area north of the middle school from the gym to the building housing the cafeteria. During fall when school is in session the truck route will run only through the parking area in from of the gym. It appears trucks will be loaded in these parking areas. The work area will be reduced when the school starts in the fall.
Dust monitoring equipment will be placed around the work area but it was not mentioned where in the fact sheet.
A letter to community members from the school superintendent was included with the DEC fact sheet. Dr. Stopinski stated that the school is committed to replace the playground as part of their “Long Range Plans” so it is unclear when this will happen and if it will be paid for by the school or the DEC as part of the latter's restoration. It was mentioned that part of the restoration would include site work for new tennis and pickleball courts along with a new access driveway to the field hockey field and a parking area next to the field.
To view the fact sheet click here.
Posted by: BillA on Jun 30, 2018 - 06:31 PM
This decision is somewhat of a surprise since the lower court, the Appellate Division of the State Supreme Court, ruled unanimously in FMC's favor.
FMC is looking into their next move but believe they will still have the opportunity to dispute their liability to pay for the cleanup. This will probably have to be in federal court.
The DEC has spent about 20 million dollars so far in the cleanup effort and estimate the total will be from 58 to 69 million for the Air Deposition Area including the school grounds. To date this money has come from the state supperfund. Before the DEC unilateral cleanup began, FMC spent about 200 million dollars on studies and cleanup such as various RFI's and CMS's, cleaning up the school football field, east side of South Vernon St, south side of Park Ave, etc.
The DEC will begin Phase four of the six phase cleanup of the school yard in May. The work will be east of the middle school. The existing playground will be replaced with a new, improved one meeting 2018 standards and new tennis courts and a parking lot will be built in the area.
The next phase of residential property cleanup will also begin in May.
Posted by: BillA on May 06, 2018 - 07:42 PM
The areas to be done are:
However many properties within these blocks are not up for remediation because they have received "clear letters or no further action required". For example, in the N Block, only one property on Main St. (the large brick apartment house) and the two properties on Vernon behind the apartment building are up for remediation. All the rest are clear. On Main in the S block, six owners have refused and one (perhaps a new owner) has received a request from the DEC without a reply so far. This leaves only six properties that will be remediated this year in that block. Even though the DEC announcement included the east side of East Ave. in the G block, only those ranch houses within the Hammond Parkway development will be up for remediation this year but of the five properties bordering State St. in the G block, three are clear and the owner of one has refused, leaving only one to be remediated.
The properties along Telegraph Rd. are clear and all but two properties along west side of Main St. between Francis St. and Telegraph Rd. are clear. Of the latter two, one will be remediated this year and the owner of the second has refused.
After this year there will be roughly 60 properties remaining to be remediated mostly along State St., its feeder streets and Main and Vernon St. between State and Park. However many in these areas have received clear letters. About 30 properties are done each year so maybe after this year only two more years remain and the Air Deposition Area will be done (except for those properties along State between the village line and the county line).
In their announcement, the DEC stresses that remediation is voluntary and property owners have the ability to decline. Indeed a number of owners have declined.
The DEC also announced separately the remediation at the Junior/Senior High School will continue in 2018. The remediation effort will involve the eastern portion of the school property (east of the Junior High to the property line and north of the already remediated field hockey field up to the road (Rt 31E).
To view the DEC announcement on residential cleanup click here.
Posted by: BillA on Apr 04, 2018 - 08:02 PM
FMC has not updated their online pamphlet so this download is for the program dated 2016 to 2018. However aside from the dates and FMC contact, the information is the same.
Posted by: BillA on Mar 27, 2018 - 07:45 PM
To veiw a Youtube video of the arguments made before the court click here. This video runs about 30 minutes.
The six judges on the bench (one was absent) seemed to be well informed and prepared even though some of their questions were more historical than pertaining to the case at hand.
The attorney for the DEC stated the contamination in the school yard and properties surrounding the plant was from overflow runoff from the lagoon or western impoundment area between 1981 and 2008. However we know that the much of the area currently being remediated was contaminated by airborne particles released from the plant before FMC discontinued using arsenic in 1974. It appears the DEC's case has some fallacies.
Posted by: BillA on Mar 27, 2018 - 07:36 PM
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All meetings run from 5:30 to 8:00 p.m. at the Masonic Lodge, 20 Main St. in the Village. All Middleport residents and property owners are welcome to stop by anytime while we are meeting.
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