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GM cleanup on schedule

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MASSENA - There have been few surprises as the cleanup at the General Motors-Powertrain site continues, according to environmental officials.

The remediation of the Environmental Protection Agency Superfund site is just about on schedule, according to Project Manager Anne E. Kelly.

Crews demolished the former automotive plant last year, and have spent much of this year removing the 20-acre, 855,000-square-foot concrete slab that once was underneath the factory and the contaminated soils below it. That $15.3 million job went to D.A. Collins Companies in Wilton, Saratoga County.

That phase of work is on track to be complete by December, Ms. Kelly said. There are 38 cleanup personnel working on -site, 29 of whom are Massena area employees, according to M. Brendan Mullen, cleanup manager for the Revitalizing Auto Communities Environmental Response Trust, the site’s owner.

“We’re tracking on what we anticipated,” Mr. Mullen said.

Approximately 80 percent of the concrete slab has been removed, Ms. Kelly said. There is a mobile lab and a full-time chemist on site who figures out whether the demolished materials are contaminated or not, which determines where they will be disposed.

Cleanup crews have not had much trouble with the current phase of work, Ms. Kelly said. They will occasionally encounter something they didn’t know was underneath the plant, but have been able to overcome those obstacles, she said.

“The actual remediation is going very well,” Ms. Kelly said. “We’re always getting on everyone’s case. There haven’t been too many surprises subsurface.”

Mr. Mullen said RACER will be bidding out the next phase, which will involve digging up to 50 feet below the property in order to remove contaminated material, within the next several months.

Last October, Mr. Mullen said $8.5 million of the $120.8 million set aside for the Massena site demolition and remediation has been spent so far. At last week’s north country redevelopment task force meeting, union leader Ronald P. McDougall asked for an updated amount of money spent on the cleanup, but Mr. Mullen did not have that information with him. The majority of the $120.8 million is for the long-term maintenance of the Superfund site, Mr. Mullen said.

“Right now, we’re on budget for what we anticipated it to be,” he said.

Officials plan to tour the cleanup progress at the GM site in October. EPA officials previously estimated the majority of cleanup at the Superfund site would be complete by 2016 and said portions of the parcel could be sold off before then.

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