T he state has threatened to take legal action against the town if it doesn’t begin submitting monitoring reports of groundwater at the former municipal landfill.
The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation has asked the town to confirm by Sept. 9 that it has or will conduct the monitoring. Patrick Kane, an environmental engineer with the state, wrote in a letter dated June 10, that failure to respond “may result in the initiation of enforcement proceedings against the town.”
Supervisor Matt Hicks said the town has responded to the state’s request and consulted an engineering firm which will begin monitoring the former landfill this year.
Because the town was the recipient of a grant to fund the closure of its landfill on LaFountain Lane in Middle Granville, it was required as part of its 30-year post-closure plan to conduct groundwater and gas monitoring of the site and to report those findings to the state.
According to the state, the town completed two years of quarterly groundwater sampling in 1993 and 1994, and two years of gas monitoring in 1992 and 1996.
“No groundwater or explosive gas monitoring results have been received since then,” Kane wrote.
Hicks said officials were caught off guard by the letter and were unaware of the monitoring requirements.
“No one remembers why they were discontinued,” Hicks said. “It appears the ball was dropped.”
He said the state didn’t provide an explanation as to why after 20 years without a report, it suddenly requested the reports.
“It came out of the blue,” Hicks said.
After consulting with its attorney, the town has agreed to hire CHA Consulting, a multi-disciplined engineering firm based out of Albany, to conduct the sampling. Hicks said CHA is the same firm the town used when it closed the landfill more than 20 years ago.
“The town is required to do an inspection monthly and to submit the results quarterly,” Hicks said.
The monitoring is expected to cost “in the thousands” for the remainder of this year and possibly as much as $15,000 on an annual basis. The cost could decrease as the monitoring becomes more routine. Hicks said the costs were unexpected and are not included in this year’s budget and will have to be included in future budgets.
“We’re going to take in the teeth a little at the beginning,” he said.
The town has the right to petition the DEC to do fewer tests, although that would depend on the results of the tests. The state did not specify how long the tests would have to be completed.
The town has contracted North Shore Solutions, a Potsdam-based web design and e-commerce firm, to build a municipal website.
Construction of the site is in its initial stages, but Hicks said the site should be complete and live “sometime this fall.”
“We are working with them about what to include on the site. They (North Shore Solutions) are very in tune with what needs to be in place on the website,” Hicks said.
He said the site will include basic information and should be a tremendous benefit to residents seeking information and to the town clerk.
He said the town and North Shore Solutions are currently working on a logo for the site. One of the options for a logo includes a silhouette of countryside with a farmer on a tractor and a slate pile. Councilman Ken Quick suggested adding something that represents the town’s industry and officials plan to add a silhouette of a water tower. Officials hope to review the logo and make a final decision at a later date.
It was also suggested that that the town makes sure the logo belongs to the town and not the company.
Hicks said the website is expected to cost a few hundred dollars each year.