D-E-C Says Former Ithaca Dry Cleaner Site No Longer a Health Hazard
The State D-E-C says the site of a former dry-cleaning operation on Meadow Street in Ithaca is no longer a significant health threat, but the owner of an Ithaca environmental consulting company disagrees.
Yesterday the D-E-C declared that toxic chemicals found at the former Meadow Street Dry Cleaners at 503-511 Meadow Street no longer presents a significant public health or environmental risk.
The agency said has reclassified the site as “properly closed , it was previously classified as a “significant threat to public health or environment.
Pollution was first detected at the site in 2001 when a potential buyer tested the groundwater there.
The testing showed the groundwater there was contaminated by perchloroethylene a chemical degreaser used in the dry cleaning process; it’s a known cancer causing carcinogen. The testing showed chemical concentrations of 1,400 parts per billion, the State regulation only allows a concentration of 5 ppb.
Follow-up testing in 2005 found far lower levels of the chemical; however testing found high levels of other chemicals associated with the breakdown of perchloroethylene including Vinyl chloride at 37.3 ppb, state regulations only allow 2 ppb.
As part of the remediation work the D-E-C has forced the property owners to install sub slab venting systems at the two onsite buildings and one off site building nearby. The D-E-C has also placed restrictions on the property.
Walter Hang President of the environmental consulting firm Toxics Targeting says he is disappointed with the D-E-C’s reclassification of the site and the limited clean-up efforts. Hang says there is still pollution on the site that is impacting groundwater and will make its way to the Cayuga Inlet. In addition he says surrounding properties without sub slab systems are still at risk for vapor intrusion. Hang points out there is a day care center and a popular ice cream store within feet of the site.