Here is a statement from Bill Arnold, chairman of the Middleport Community Input Group, regarding yesterday's press release by the NYSDEC...
The term "required" in the DEC news release is a bit of an overstatement. The school and residents in the M and K blocks, or for that matter any of the 182 properties under DEC consideration, are NOT required to remediate and the owners have the right to refuse. There is justification to refuse. As stated by the DEC in their response summary to public comments published in May, 2013, there is no peer reviewed studies that support arsenic in soil is hazardous to human health.
The DEC base their belief that soil containing arsenic above 20 PPM should be remediated on studies performed mostly in third world countries where arsenic was in drinking water or in water used to irrigate rice patties. These conditions do not exist in Middleport or on the school grounds.
I was assured by a DEC managing engineer that "arm twisting" of residents would not be used but to say remediation is required under that Final Statement of Basis is pushing it.
FMC has not agreed to the cleanup goal of all soil above 20 PPM be remediated but would have begun remediation three years ago if the goal of an average 20 PPM with a maximum of 40 PPM was used. FMC believes this goal would be just as protective and it fell within EPA guidelines when the Final Statement of Basis was issued. As for the school, they don't have much of a choice to refuse. It was suggested by the State Education Department if the school board did not agree to the DEC plans, their state funding might be in jeopardy. That seems to exceed arm twisting.