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State DEC Calls Rye Investigation 'Common'

RYE, N.Y. - As reported earlier in the week in The Daily Rye , the site of the former Rye Gas Works is currently being investigated by Con Edison and the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation for potential contamination. The site, which is located on the busy Theodore Fremd Avenue, has been inactive for over 80 years.

According to the DEC, these types of investigations are fairly common. "Currently, there is a total of 219 known MGP (Manufactured Gas Plant) sites in New York State," DEC spokesperson Wendy Rosenbach said, "DEC has a well-established program for the investigation and cleanup of these sites".

As far as the contamination is concerned, the DEC would not comment on its level because "not enough information is avaiable". However Con Edison spokesperson Bob McGee called the contamination "significant" but "limited".

"The DEC is continuing its investigation to determine the extent and severity of the contamination," Rosenbach said, "Once the investigation is complete, the DEC will have the information in needs categorize or classify the site".

Rosenbach and McGee both cited a 2002 agreement between the parties as the catalyst for the investigation of Rye Gas Works. "(Con Edison and the DEC) recognized the potential impacts associated with former MGP sites, based on experience at other sites around the state," McGee said, "It was deemed prudent to investigate and see if impacts existed at Con Edison sites".

"The DEC prioritized the 51 MGP sites under the Con Ed Consent Order," Rosenbach added, "Based on the criteria, the Rye Gas Works site was not considered to be a high priority for immediate investigation".

According to the report, most of the contamination is "deep within the bedrock".

"This is good from an exposure stand point, because they are too deep for people to become directly exposed to the impacts," said Rosenbach, "From a cleanup standpoint it is bad, because deeper impacts are more difficult and more costly to investigate and remediate".

The investigation, which began earlier this month, is estimated to last three months.

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