12,268 tons of impacted sediment was removed from the Keuka Outlet, 24,160 tons of impacted soil, as removed from the property and 287,513 gallons of water was treated during the clean up process.

PENN YAN — The barges are gone; the walls of sheet pilings have been pulled out of the ground like teeth; topsoil has been restored, and ducks are the main activity at the site of a stone and brick building along the Keuka Outlet in Penn Yan. The old gas house project, years overdue and millions over budget, will draw to a close in a week or so, according to NYSEG Manager of Corporate Communications Michael Jamison.

The long vacant building has been the object of fascination and frustration for the people of Penn Yan for years. Work to clean up the NYSEG-owned former manufactured gas plant on Water Street began in late 2015. According to a fact sheet provided by the Department of Environmental Conservation at that time, the cleanup activities were expected to continue through May 2018 and cost approximately $8 million. At last report, that cost rose to over $10 million.

Jamison says as of September 2019, 12,268 tons of impacted sediment, and 24,160 tons of impacted soil had been removed, and 287,513 gallons of water had been treated.

The project was halted in July 2017 after the 1899 stone building (designated as a historic structure by the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation, and Historic preservation) began to excessively settle after excavation of contaminated soil. The rescue efforts to save the historic building from collapse took time to plan and execute, and added considerably to the cost. The halt also caused a delay in the village’s adjoining pedestrian bridge project.

The site was identified as a Class 2 inactive hazardous waste disposal site in 2012 following remedial investigations between 1991 and 2008, and is one of 33 former MGP sites across the state. Work at the .815 acre site included the excavation and off-site disposal of contaminated soil and sediment from the Keuka Outlet immediately adjacent and downstream. Specifically, coal tar and residual contamination were removed. Following the excavation, two feet of soil was placed on the site with the top six inches capable of sustaining vegetation.

The site is actually two parcels, both which have been zoned Waterfront Development and Conservation District, which permits commercial and residential uses.

NYSEG has no immediate future plans for the property, according to Jameson. However, Vincent Rosato, owner of the neighboring Garrett Winery Building on the corner of Liberty Street, says he has the right of first refusal to purchase the property.

Rosato says the DEC still has to approve the completion of the project and the Site Management Plan for monitoring the numerous sample wells on the site, which he has been led to hope for by late spring or early summer 2020.

"We’re finally seeing some light at the end of this long tunnel," says Rosato. He hopes to purchase the property to provide parking for the mixed residential and commercial use of the Garrett building, and plans to lease the gas house to a commercial tenent. Rosato says he already has two interested parties; one plans a recreation rental business convenient to the Keuka Outlet and the Outlet Trail, and the other plans a restaurant.