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The Times
  • DEC probe of Ilion Heights’ soil, groundwater begins Monday

  • A state Department of Environmental Conservation investigation will begin Monday as soil and groundwater is tested to check for contamination at an Ilion Housing Authority site.

    “We don’t have any evidence as of today that there’s an issue,” DEC Project Manager Peter Ouderkirk said to a handful of people who attended Thursday afternoon’s public session.

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  • A state Department of Environmental Conservation investigation will begin Monday as soil and groundwater is tested to check for contamination at an Ilion Housing Authority site.
    “We don’t have any evidence as of today that there’s an issue,” DEC Project Manager Peter Ouderkirk said to a handful of people who attended Thursday afternoon’s public session.
    It was learned through the Ilion Project that Ilion Heights — a multifamily residential, low-income housing complex — was built on what previously was home to Prine Cleaners and Laundry Co., housing authority Executive Director Jeff McTiernan said.
    Prine Cleaners opened in the 1930s providing retail dry cleaning and rug cleaning, according to a DEC fact sheet. Operations ceased in 1968, and the property was taken through eminent domain under the Urban Renewal Program.
    Due to the type of industry that was there, Ouderkirk said an investigation will begin at the complex to analyze surface and subsurface soil as well as groundwater. The history of the site indicates that the business used Stoddard solvents — a nontoxic compound similar to kerosene — in its operations, he said.
    No previous investigations have been conducted there.
    The field work should take about two weeks, Ouderkirk said, and then another 30 days until results would be available.
    Officials don’t anticipate finding any contamination, Ouderkirk said, and McTiernan indicated that the housing authority never has had issues.
    “When we dug up to repair pipes we never saw anything that alarmed us, nor have we had any sickness or illnesses,” McTiernan said
    Residents were notified of the planned investigation, he said, and DEC and state Department of Health officials were available Thursday to provide information.
    The only people in attendance were those from surrounding homes.
    Shirley Schorer, a Shull Street resident, said she came to the session because she’s concerned about her own property.
    Shull Street runs parallel to Ilion Heights and Vosburg Road.
    “We’re just concerned about ourselves and others in the area,” she said. “We’re concerned about the water table and contamination.”
    As for Ilion Heights residents’ lack of attendance, McTiernan said the housing authority staff already has been talking with a lot of them.
    “I think they’re just waiting for the results,” he said.
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