ROMULUS — Seneca Lake Guardian is urging that approvals for a proposed galvanizing plant on the former Seneca Army Depot not move forward until environmental concerns are addressed.
The zinc galvanizing plant is part of a proposal from Earl Martin, owner of Seneca Dairy Systems, to build a new facility for dairy fencing, gates and stalls on land he owns at the former depot.
The lake protection group consulted with experts in hot dip galvanizing and industrial storm water management concerning the proposed plant.
One of those experts was John Malone, president of Galvanizing Consultants Inc. of Whitsett, North Carolina. Malone reviewed Martin’s plans and application and determined that, in general, the proposed facility is well-designed, but he told Seneca Guardian members that there will be no storage tanks, which he called “highly unusual.”
Malone recommends that if one or more tanks are required, they should be doubled-walled and surrounded by a containment structure of appropriate size. He also suggested additional review of the acid regeneration system.
The second expert consulted was Richard Horner, a University of Washington emeritus research associate professor at the Departments of Landscape and Architecture and Civil and Environmental Engineering. His expertise is in storm water management.
Horner said the early plans for the project had a design capacity that would eliminate all surface storm water discharge up to and including a 100-year, 24-hour precipitation event. He said that was later changed when it was discovered the ground water table was too high to permit such a system. It was replaced with a system that does not have the ability to control runoff water quantity and quality at the same rate.
“Those evaluating the project have no basis to judge its likely effectiveness,” Horner said. “The developer is obligated to assure reviewers that the situation has been comprehensively and carefully analyzed and to demonstrate with the best available evidence how well the proposed system is expected to work.”
Horner called the current proposal “quite impressive,” but said it does not do everything it could to prevent the release of heavy metals such as zinc to the outdoors through doors, gaps and track-out by vehicles where they are not only an air pollutant and a storm water pollutant toxic to aquatic life when in runoff.
Horner made several suggestions for an improved system.
“Seneca Lake Guardian urges the Seneca County IDA and the town of Romulus to make any approvals of the proposed galvanizing plant contingent upon addressing the areas of concern,” said Joseph Campbell, president of Seneca Lake Guardian.
Campbell said the group also has concerns about the future Phase 2 and 3 of the project, a milling and welding facility and will be reviewing that carefully.