What could be one of the largest contaminated site clean ups ever undertaken is being proposed for the village of Middleport, New York, by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation. Middleport has a population of about 2,000 and is located about 65km northeast of Buffalo on the Erie Canal.
A plant operated by FMC, formerly Food Machinery and Chemical Corporation, in Middleport used to manufacture arsenic-based and other pesticide products. As a result of past manufacturing operations and waste disposal practices at this facility, chemical releases have occurred that have affected sediment, surface water and groundwater at the facility’s property and also in adjacent off-site areas. After studying various options, NYDEC is recommending excavation of soil from about 260 hectares of residential gardens and commercial and institutional lands, including land around the community school. Excavated soil will either be landfilled or impounded on the 36 hectare FMC site.
The world’s largest remediation site is believed to be Hong Kong’s former Kai Tak Airport site, at 328 hectares but not all of that site is being remediated and the remediation is via use of wells to remove VOCs rather than by excavation of the soil.
The NYDEC is currently engaging the community in a consultation process that appears to be a model of its kind. Extensive details of the DEC review and plan can be found at http://www.dec.ny.gov/chemical/54220.html