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Herrings Crown Cleaner site continues to await cleanup

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CARTHAGE — The town of Wilna has been told that the waiting game will continue on the cleanup of the Crown Cleaners site in Herrings.

Supervisor Paul H. Smith sent the letter last month to state legislators and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency concerning the Crown Cleaners project.

The 9-acre site was placed on the EPA’s Superfund list in 1991 because of ground and water contamination from the former dry-cleaning facility. After years of testing and study, EPA finalized its cleanup plan in April 2012.

Pamela N. Tames, a remedial project manager for the EPA, responded to Mr. Smith’s letter.

In her April 29 letter, she said the EPA has completed plans for the demolition of the building and “is currently working on the design for the soil and groundwater portions of the remedy.”

She estimated the designs will be finished in late summer and early winter, respectively.

However, she said, the Crown Cleaners site does not rank high enough to be funded in this federal fiscal year, which ends Sept. 30, especially since money was cut by 26 percent under federal sequestration.

“Given the current budget climate, we cannot predict when construction funds will be available for the Crown Cleaners site,” she wrote.

“It’s my feeling they reneged on the promise to do the cleanup,” Mr. Smith said. “It could be on hold for another 20 years.”

Restoration of the property would include demolition of the main building, extraction of contaminated soil and sediment with volatile organic compounds, which will be disposed of at an off-site facility, and covering up of soil containing polycyclic aromatic compounds with clean soil on site. Groundwater will be treated using oxidants and wetlands will be restored.

Wilna took ownership of the property at 3595 Route 3 on June 18. After the cleanup, the town plans to turn the parcel into a park.

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