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New York State to Clean Up Devastatingly Toxic Site in Schenectady

Asbestos disposalCleaning up a hazardous waste site in Schenectady County will cost over $20 million New York State officials said.

The Daily Gazette of Schenectady reports that the Department of Environmental Conservation has released some of the project’s details. It will cost an estimated $20.5 million of the state’s Superfund to clean Kenco Chemical Co.’s former site in the town of Glenville, which is just 15 miles northwest of Albany.

The almost one-acre site stored various chemical solvents and dry cleaning chemicals — including a known carcinogen — from the mid-1960s through the 90s. Almost 10 years later, in 2008, the property was designated a Superfund, which, according to the Environmental Protection Agency, “is an uncontrolled or abandoned place where hazardous waste is located, possibly affecting local ecosystems or people.”

What many don’t realize about sites like the former Kenco Chemcial Co.’s property is that they pose a myriad of immediate threats to the public. The mismanagement of hazardous waste has been shown to be a dangerous problem affecting the nation.

Take for example the medical waste industry. Each year, about 16 billion injections are given across the world, but aren’t all disposed of properly. As a result, hundreds of thousands of people become infected with diseases. In 2000, the poor management of medical waste led to 260,000 new HIV infections, according to the World Health Organization.

This Superfund site is absolutely no different. In 2010, the Department of Environmental Conservation found evidence that its chemicals had spread to a nearby stream, groundwater, and soil as far as half a mile away. Just three years later, the contamination had spread an entire mile from the property, and began threatening a local neighborhood, despite the DEC’s attempts to clean it up.

Fortunately, the new cleanup project is already in motion. The DEC expects to have it finished by next year.