A Statement From Nassau Supervisor David Fleming
The localized flooding of July 14, 2021 and subsequent high water events made it clear that damage was done to areas around the Dewey Loeffel Federal Superfund Site that have not yet been remediated as well as to areas under remediation. These areas contained PCB contamination.
At this time, the area most significantly impacted appears to be Little Thunder Brook. This is a tributary that flows from Loeffel Superfund Site into the Valatie Kill and is a part of the Hudson River Estuary. The brook contains high levels of PCBs.
The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) was quickly informed of this damage and began an assessment even as flood waters continued. At Nassau’s request, the EPA agreed to conduct testing of downstream properties and areas impacted by the flooding. Because PCBs cling to fine grain sediments, the immediate concern was downstream properties that had high water sediment buildup resulting from the floodwaters.
The flooding damage to remediation operations in Little Thunder Brook involved tremendous contaminated sediment displacement for the entire length of the tributary.
Please note that EPA’s assessment of the impacts of these storms continue. I extend my thanks at this time to EPA for their coordination with NYS Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) and Department of Health in this response effort. DEC also quickly provided boots on the ground in response to this storm event.
EPA sampled both the surface water and the floodplain sediment following the storm. Nassau had and continues to request residents with impacts of flood sediments to contact EPA for possible testing.
The initial tests by EPA involved ten sediment samples along the Valatie Kill. According to EPA, in nine of the ten properties, the results indicate that PCBs were either not detected or were present at low concentrations below the regulatory level established by New York State for soil on residential properties. At one property located in close proximity to the Loeffel site, the result indicates that PCBs were detected above the regulatory level established by New York State for soil on residential properties. EPA has already reached out to the owner of this property to discuss the results and arrange for follow-up sampling.
EPA is preparing additional outreach to residents with their testing results. We expect that EPA will be preforming additional tests this week and expect that they will be performing additional outreach to residents that experienced flooding from the Valatie Kill to assess conditions on those properties.
It should also be noted that Little Thunder Brook and the Valatie Kill had surface water tests to assess post-flood conditions. According to EPA, those results are similar to previous sampling results. However, again, EPA indicates that additional water sampling will be performed as part of the ongoing assessment of post-flood conditions.
The environmental impacts of this recent flooding will not be understood for some time. Nassau will continue to pursue additional testing and will not relent in communicating the need for complete remediation of this toxic scar on the Capital Region.