continued The GSA owns the approximately 60-acre property where the building collapsed. The Navy Depot was commissioned in 1943 to store items for national defense, such as boilers, turbines and reduction gear, according to state Department of Environmental Conservation records. After the Vietnam War, most Navy functions there ended.
After the chemical trichloroethylene, or TCE, was discovered in the City of Schenectady and Town of Rotterdam well fields, the state Department of Health in 1991 tested private residential wells alongside Route 5 near the Navy Depot. The municipal well fields contained less than 1 parts-per-billion of the chemical, with state drinking water standards at 5 ppb, but some residential well water samples contained up to 320 ppb. Affected residents were then connected to public water.
County officials previously said TCE was identified 70 feet below the surface of the site. The plume, according to DEC tests, is within a portion of the Great Flats Aquifer Protection Zone and is headed toward the Mohawk River. The aquifer is the underground water supply providing drinking water to almost all Schenectady County residents.
Often, TCE is used in solvents for industrial purposes as a degreaser and past dumping practices are attributed to the local contamination.
Last October, GSA signed a Federal Facility Site Remediation agreement with the DEC to move forward with clean up plans. County officials touted the agreement as critical to maintaining the county’s water supply.
Town officials said little work has been done since last October.
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 $3 to $4 million. This method has been successfully used to stop TCE plumes and break down the chemical to eliminate any health threats.
Koetzle said the transfer of the property to the county is going through “the red tape,” but he’s hopeful work will start soon.