Mohawks Criticize Cleanup Plan In Massena

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Mohawk Environmental Director Ken Jock says the recommended plan to clean up toxic waste that was discharged into the Grasse River from Alcoa's Massena plant decades ago is a long awaited step that doesn't go far enough.
 
"93 percent of the contamination is going to be left in place and covered up with two different kinds of caps and so it doesn't go far enough," he said.
 
The Environmental Protection Agency has recommended Alcoa's river clean-up be a combination of dredging and capping tons of PCB contaminated soil and sediment along the river bottom at a cost of more than $240 million.
 
"There were ten different options that were looked at and one of the things that was discussed in this proposed plan are each of those options and the reasonings and the rationale," said EPA spokeswoman Larisa Romanowski.                                                           
 
The EPA proposal would require the dredging and removal of contamination along the shoreline.

It would also allow more than 300 acres of contaminated sediment to be covered with both a thick armored rock cap and clean sand and gravel.

But the St. Regis Mohawk tribe feels capping isn't a permanent remedy.
 
The Mohawks are also concerned about the possible impact of ice scour or an ice jam on the river's proposed contamination cap.
 
Over the years Alcoa has evaluated cleanup options including dredging as well as the impact of ice scouring on capped river sediments.
 
Informational sessions1 on the proposed clean-up plan will be held October 29 in Akwesasne and October 30 in Massena. Public comment is being accepted through November 15.

Friday, August 29, 2014
, Watertown, NY

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