GENEVA — State environmental officials say cleanup of contaminated properties around the former Geneva Foundry could last another 3-4 years.
The state Department of Environmental Conservation is eyeing 35 properties for cleanup this year in the area surrounding the former Geneva Foundry. This marks the third year of remediation.
Over the last two years, crews from LaBella Associates of Rochester have been removing soil contaminated with lead and/or arsenic from residential and commercial properties in the area around the former foundry at 23 Jackson St. The soil contaminants came from smokestack emissions at the former industrial site that closed in 1988.
The DEC said it is meeting with property owners whose parcels are to be cleaned up in 2019 to discuss contamination data and to confirm property access. Weather permitting, remediation is expected to begin in April and run through December, the DEC said.
DEC spokesperson Maureen Wren said in 2017, the organization identified more than 200 properties as needing remediation.
“DEC will continue the state’s rigorous cleanup until all impacted properties have been remediated to protect public health and the environment,” she said. “Based on the current average of approximately 40 properties cleaned up per year, DEC anticipates project completion for the Geneva Foundry Off-site Project in the 2022-2023 time frame.”
While crews are set to embark on 2019 remediation efforts, they’ll also be finishing landscaping and other restoration efforts on properties that could not be completed before winter.
This year’s remediation efforts are focused on areas east and west of Exchange Street — more specifically, along State and Genesee streets, Lafayette Avenue, and Middle, Wadsworth and Herbert streets. Typically, cleanup work will be performed from 7:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. weekdays, the DEC said.
LaBella’s work is being overseen by Lancaster-based Ecology and Environment Engineering and Geology, on behalf of the state agency.
Areas that are disturbed during cleanup will be restored in consultation with each property owner. According to the DEC, that includes lawns, sidewalks, driveways, trees, shrubs, decks, sheds and garden beds.
In November, city officials praised the work of DEC and LaBella, noting the scope of the project is beyond anything the city could have coordinated. Some 40 parcels were completed in 2018, about double what was done in the initial cleanup year of 2017. The project is being paid for with an estimated $16 million from the state Superfund program.
The foundry properties at 23 and 44 Jackson St. have been remediated by the city, combined with DEC oversight.
In addition, the city has drafted a final engineering report and submitted it for DEC review. It states that cleanup requirements have been or will be met “to fully protect public health and the environment for the proposed site use.”
City Council has approved a required environmental easement for the property stipulating what the land can be used for by any potential developers. Single-family homes will not be permitted on the property, but the land can be used for business — industrial or commercial — or multi-family housing like townhouses and condominiums.