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DIGGING DEEPER: Future housing to be built on contaminated land

BINGHAMTON (WBNG) —  Local and state leaders see the new development of 435 State Street as a way to revitalize a blighted area. But, according to the Department of Environmental Conservation that site is contaminated.

The multi-million dollar project at Canal Plaza will house low-income tenants and people with mental illness. It will also include 15,000 square feet of commercial space.

“So many of us have been working as a team to try to bring revitalization to this area,” said Assemblywoman Donna Lupardo (D).

What used to happen on the former Binghamton manufacturing site, however, still haunts the property to this day. Lupardo said that’s what helps fund projects like this one.

“This used to be a manufacturing site for Stow Manufacturing so when you do have a site like that that has contamination, in this case not very much, the state puts credits behind it,” said Lupardo.

The location for the new housing lies on the North Chenango River Corridor Brownfield Opportunity Area.

According to the DEC a brownfield site is property where contaminants are present that could have health or environmental impacts.

The Brownfield opportunity program provides communities with the resources to revitalize and rebuild in these areas.

” Developers are reluctant to take on property that has contamination so this gives them the extra funding thats needed,” said Lupardo.

The new development is being built at 435 State Street.

A search on the DEC’s website shows that address was the former Stow Manufacturing and its part of the state Brownfield Cleanup Program.

According to the report, fill materials, high levels of metals and nuisance petroleum impacts are present on-site.

Even with those contaminants, Lupardo says the property will be safe for people to live.

“Were very diligent when it comes to contamination so surely were not in the league of many sites that we have seen across our community I think this is going to be just fine.”

When we caught up with Binghamton Mayor Rich David about the development. He told us he has no concerns at all about the pollutants at the site.

“When you use the word contaminated I think that’s a strong word there’s not evidence that this site is contaminated,” said David.

While our local leaders see no issue the DEC’s site health assessment of the Brownfield is still incomplete meaning we don’t know just how safe it really is.

A spokesperson from the DEC said preliminary data shows the soil at the site is safe by DEC standards for people to live on but two isolated parts of the land exceeded the contamination standards.

The DEC said the groundwater on the site is also contaminated but people will not be exposed to it and the area is served by the municipal system.

The full report has not been finalized it will be shared later this year.

Annie Flaherty

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