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Former cleaners a superfund site

DEC officials say groundwater contaminated

The former Damshire Cleaners building, which closed in 2001, has been placed in the New York State Superfund Program.

The former Damshire Cleaners building, which closed in 2001, has been placed in the New York State Superfund Program. Photo by Andrew Beam.

— The former Damshire Cleaners building has now been named an inactive hazardous waste disposal site by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, and is awaiting a remedial investigation.

The property has been placed in the New York State Superfund Program, which is a program the state has set up to indentify and investigate cleanup sites where the disposal of hazardous waste can be a possible public threat.

Damshire had been in business for several decades before it closed in 2001. In a notification put out by the DEC, the agency stated the building is currently unoccupied and there was believed to have been improper handling of the dry cleaning solvent tetrachloroethene (PCE) that has resulted in groundwater contamination.

According to the DEC, PCE was detected in a sub-slab vapor sample in the onsite structure. The fear is that there is a potential for soil vapor intrusion, which can be caused by possible contaminated groundwater going offsite. There is also concern about ongoing releases of contamination to groundwater from source areas of the site.

In an emailed response, Lisa King, a spokeswoman for DEC, said the department has had limited access to the site but said there appears to only be possible groundwater contamination under Central Avenue. She added, though, that there has not been any site-related groundwater contamination found on the south side of Central Avenue.

“A site characterization investigation that consisted of the construction of monitoring wells and sampling of groundwater along the outside of the perimeter of the property confirmed the presence of elevated concentrations of the dry cleaning solvent tetrachlorothene (PCE),” King said in the email. “The data also confirmed that the source of the PCE contamination is on the former Damshire Cleaners property.”

The DEC said it still has limited access to the property, but said once it gains access there will be a remedial investigation. The purpose of this particular investigation will be to determine how much of the soil, groundwater and soil vapor is contaminated and what type of risk this could present to the environment and nearby residents.

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