Gas plant clean-up paused

Gwen Chamberlain
The environmental clean up at the former manufactured gas plant has been paused while engineers adjust plans for removing contaminated soil from under the stone building.

Environmental cleanup work at the former NYSEG manufactured gas plant on Water Street has been halted, according to Bill Jensen, assistant director of Public Works in the village of Penn Yan.

When contacted by The Chronicle-Express for information, a New York State Department of Environmental Conservation spokesperson explained that attempts to stabilize the 1899 stone gas house to allow excavation of soil beneath the structure were unsuccessful, and excessive settlement of the building began.

NYSEG officials will provide additional information on the company’s plans soon, says spokesperson Juanita Washington.

A work crew has been on the scene there since 2015 removing contaminated soil, according to a consent order with a remedy approved by the DEC and Department of Health. The Penn Yan site is one of 33 former MGP sites across the state.

Contaminants of concern identified on the site include coal tar, benzene, toluene, ethylbenzens, xylene, and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons.

The project has been temporarily suspended to allow for a revised structural design to be prepared to stabilize the building and redesign of soil excavation plans.

Once the new work plan is complete, a fact sheet will be available for public information. DEC officials expect construction activities to resume in November.

Jensen says the work suspension will also cause a delay in the village’s plans to build two new pedestrian bridges on the Keuka Outlet Trail until next July. Those bridges are intended to replace two former Fall Brook Railroad trestles. The trestle on the west side of the Main Street bridge has been demolished for the environmental clean up.

The MGP clean up project, originally expected to cost about $8 million, has already cost $10 million, according to NYSEG source reports earlier this year.

The building was constructed in 1899 and was operated as a plant where gas was manufactured from coal until 1931. It was later used as a malt house and wood storage building.

The site was identified as a Class 2 inactive hazardous waste disposal site in 2012 following remedial investigations between 1991 and 2008

Clean up began in late 2015 and was expected to be complete in the spring of 2018.