continued In March 2010, the GSA agreed to a DEC Record of Decision outlining the environmental problem and a plan to fix it. _County officials said they’ve kept pressing federal and state officials to get an agreement signed. Also, county officials identified clean up of the Depot as a priority for its unified economic development team back in 2004.
In order to clean up the area, the GSA will install a zero valent iron permeable reactive barrier beneath the surface of the affected area, which is estimated to cost around $3 to $4 million. This type of barrier has been successfully implemented before to stop TCE plumes and break down the chemical to eliminate any health threats, according to county officials. The barrier will be injected into target areas through a series of soil borings.
Rick Georgeson, spokesman for DEC Region 4, said the depth of the aquifer varies considerably ranging from 10 feet to over 100 feet. The average thickness is typically 50 to 70 feet. The aquifer covers a very large area in the Mohawk Valley from just west of Rotterdam Junction to just east of the City of Schenectady, where the Alplaus Kill flows into the Mohawk, he said.
“There is contamination in the aquifer at the Navy Depot site. Fortunately this part of the aquifer is not the most productive in terms of producing water and it is not used as a water supply,” Georgeson said in an email. “The barrier is not a ‘barrier’ to groundwater flow, but a ‘barrier’ to the contaminants present in the water. As contaminated groundwater flows through this iron treatment zone (barrier) it contacts the zero valent iron and through a chemical reaction the contaminants are broken down to nontoxic end products.”
Gillen said work is expected to start before the beginning of next year, and since the depth of the soil work is not extreme the project can be conducted year-round.