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DEC planning extensive water cleanup at former Bethlehem Steel site

Nearly 40 new wells are proposed for installation at the former site of the coke oven at Lackawanna's Bethlehem Steel site, according to the state Department of Environmental Conservation.

The wells are on the former steel plant property across the Hamburg Turnpike from last November's fire site and not associated with the cleanup of that location.

The new wells would be designed to help cleanup contaminated groundwater from a time when the coke ovens operated.

They would increase the cleaning power at the 27-acre site by nearly 400 percent, according to the DEC plan.

The groundwater remains contaminated across a 27-acre site at the former Bethlehem Steel's coke oven in Lackawanna. It is not associated with last November's fire across the street, DEC officials said. (State Department of Environmental Conservation)

Groundwater was contaminated across the site, including at the west end of the Lackawanna Ship Canal, the DEC stated.

Eleven pumping wells were installed more than a decade ago and have been operating there since 2005, DEC documents show.

A public meeting on the issue is also scheduled at 6:30 p.m. March 8.

DEC officials will hold the meeting to generate public input on their plan. It will be held at the Lackawanna Senior Center, 230 Martin Road.

Public comments on the proposal are being accepted through the end of March.

The DEC reports construction is expected to take about 18 months.

When it's finished, it should eliminate migration of contaminated groundwater from the site, the DEC said. However, further work will be necessary to clean up the site itself.

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