Ithaca, N.Y. — Toxic contaminants at a controversial development on Ithaca’s Spencer Road should have been made public long before the state approved the cleanup plan for the site, a city alderperson said.

Alderperson Cynthia Brock criticized the city’s developers on Friday for not being forthcoming about the contaminants. The state approved the city’s plan to remove them last week.

“It took the focused efforts of community members to bring the issue of contamination to light,” Brock said.

“The developers have known of the soil and groundwater contamination since October of 2012, but made little effort to work with the DEC to come up with a plan to address it.”

Brock also said the state is not forcing the developers to clean up the site “to all applicable standards,” a decision she called “maddening.”

Brock’s statement, provided to The Ithaca Voice, is reproduced in full below. For the latest in the debate, see here or here.

“It took the focused efforts of community members to bring the issue of contamination to light. The developers have known of the soil and groundwater contamination since October of 2012, but made little effort to work with the DEC to come up with a plan to address it. The developer also failed to notify the City of the contamination so that it could be considered and addressed in the City’s environmental review process.

I am grateful to the members of the Planning Board for recognizing the significance of this oversight, and for requiring that these issues be addressed before the project is allowed to move forward.

While the DEC-approved management plan is a huge step forward, I am disappointed that contamination will be allowed to remain on site. Under the approved plan, contaminated soil and groundwater will remain underground in the areas around the buildings, and under the grass and recreational areas. The site is not being cleaned up to all applicable standards, and this is maddening to me.


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Jeff Stein

Jeff Stein is the founder and former editor of the Ithaca Voice.