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DEC investigation under way

An investigation launched by the Department of Environmental Conservation and the state Attorney General's office has led to the demolition and removal of the concrete floor of the Division Street garage.

DEC officials were joined by workers with Aztech Technologies, the remediation firm hired by the city, to take soil samples of the earth where a hydraulic pump spilled 55 gallons of hydraulic fluid in February.

Department of Environmental Conservation spokeswoman Lori O'Connell could not comment on the extent of the investigation, but did say that the Attorney General's office was the lead agency in the process.

Public Works Commissioner Tom McTygue said his department is cooperating fully with the DEC. He said he will have a thorough report on the cleanup at the Tuesday, May 1 city council meeting.

McTygue, whose department has come under scrutiny in past weeks for an alleged illegal dumping site off Weibel Avenue, has said all of the attention has been politically motivated. McTygue also said at the April 17 City Council meeting that individual residents, not DPW employees, were responsible for most of the dumping. He also said Mayor Valerie Keehn, whose husband David is an attorney with the DEC, knew about this investigation for weeks.

Keehn said she knew nothing about the investigation before it began on April 25. As for her husband being an attorney with DEC: My husband is in no way involved with this investigation, she said.

Keehn said communication between her office and McTygue's has been strained concerning the investigation.

"Any communication attempts have come at my request," said Keehn. "I've asked for all of the documentation concerning the investigation from the DPW." Do I believe I have all of the documentation? No, I don't."

Keehn said she's asked for any correspondence between the DPW and DEC.

As of Wednesday afternoon, all city departments have been subpoenaed, according to Keehn.

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