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By Professor Hatheway

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New York Stateís Approach to the Remediation of
Former Manufactured Gas Plant Sites
      (link at bottom)

- Introduction by Professor Hatheway

New York State, through its Division of Environmental Remediation, of the Department of Environmental Conservation (NYSDEC) has, since the early 1990s, developed an outstanding program of clean-up of Former Manufactured Gas Plants. In this undated overview (apparently released in 2008), DEC provides the lay person with an excellent summary of the manner in which New York State is meeting the human health and environmental protection challenges of toxic gas manufacturing residuals and wastes yet remaining in the ground and waters of the State.

Of the FMGPs, DEC has this to say:

"Most towns in New York State with populations of more than 5,000 had at least one gas plant. To date, more than 200 MGP sites have been found statewide, and it is estimated that up to 300 may exist. Smaller MGPs also operated during this time period, providing gas for individual factories or institutions. A trend toward regional consolidation took hold in the 1930s, in which small town MGPs often closed and were replaced by short-distance pipelines to neighboring plants a few miles away. As World War II approached, longer interstate pipelines were built, making cheaper natural gas from the Midwest more widely available. Most New York MGPs had closed by the1950s, but a few remained in operation on standby status in areas where the pipelines could not meet peak demand. The last MGP in New York State ceased operations in 1972.

Of its own Lessons Learned since the early 1990s, DEC has this to say:

"While the existence of former MGPs was known, the potential numbers of these plants became apparent in the early 1990s. Initially, the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (Department) viewed the remedial program for former MGP sites as consisting of limited removal actions or interim remedial measures, similar to the removal of underground petroleum storage tanks. With the passage of time the Departmentís understanding of the complexity of these sites grew, as investigations identified the extent of the contamination problems associated with many MGPs.

Accordingly, the Department program was restructured. In 2000, additional staff were dedicated to the MGP remedial program and the focus shifted from the limited removal based approach to the more traditional Superfund site remedial approach, for nearly all MGP sites. The process starts with a site characterization, progresses to a remedial investigation, then to a feasibility study and continues into the design and construction of the remedy. This approach has proven successful. Projects continue to move forward through the remedial process, while the total number of sites under order or agreement has increased steadily from approximately 90 to more than 200 today.

The dedicated MGP group reflects a recognition of the need for a consistent approach between the eight utilities and MGP sites in general. This need is highlighted by the reality that most utilities have sites in two or more of the Departmentís regions. This group, in addition to fostering a consistent approach and decision-making, has developed a high level of expertise in the investigation and remediation of these sites. Staff are frequently consulted by other states and participate in conferences and work groups at national and international levels."



New York Stateís Approach to FMGP Remediation - Adobe Acrobat Slide Show
    - PDF Format  -  17 slides  -  1.3 MB

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