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Dredging of contaminated soil underway along Susquehanna River in Binghamton

BINGHAMTON (WBNG) — What’s that barge on the river in Binghamton? It’s a question 12 News viewers have been asking this week.

According to the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, the activity along the Susquehanna River shoreline includes dredging of contaminated sediments related to a former Manufactured Gas Plant (MGP) that operated at 271 – 293 Court Street from around 1888 to 1939.

The NYSDEC told 12 News on Tuesday that it is overseeing the cleanup, which is being done by a NYSEG contractor. The barge floating on the river off of Court Street is being used in the cleanup effort.

Barge located on the Susquehanna River near Court Street and Tompkins Street

State environmental conservation officials say the work is a continuation of a project started by NYSEG last fall, but was delayed due unsafe river conditions. Officials say the dredging is expected to continue throughout the summer.

“The primary contaminants of concern at the site are MGP-related compounds, namely polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) and MGP-related coal tar sheens in river sediment,” a NYSDEC spokesperson said in a statement. “These contaminants in the river sediment need to be removed to restore the sediments to its original conditions and prevent possible exposures in the future.”

The DEC says the dredging will occur in two small portions of the river, upstream of the Tompkins Street Bridge and along Court Street.

“Temporary containment systems, composed of sheet piles, turbidity curtains, and oil absorbent booms will be installed around these areas to prevent contamination migration while the cleanup is conducted. Once the containment systems are in place, a barge-mounted crane will excavate the contaminated sediment and clean sediment will be brought in to restore the river bottom to its original condition,” the spokesperson said.

12 News also reached out to NYSEG for a statement regarding the cleanup. Here’s the response from the utility company:

“NYSEG has launched a remediation project related to the former manufactured gas plant site located on Court Street near the Susquehanna River. NYSEG is working closely with the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation and the New York State Department of Health, and expect the project will be completed later this year.”

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