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State to finalize cleanup plan for Lackawanna incinerator site

A proposed $1.3 million cleanup effort would rid heavy metals like lead and arsenic from the banks of Smokes Creek near the former Lackawanna incinerator, according to the state Department of Environmental Conservation.

The DEC's proposal focuses on an area along the Smokes Creek corridor and the incinerator site, contaminated by more than a half-century of municipal trash burning.

"Contaminants disposed of at the site ... constitute a significant threat of public health and the environment," according to a DEC statement.

DEC officials outlined a plan to cover existing contamination at the incinerator site with a foot of new soil and mark affected areas.

Environmental easements would also restrict use of the property and groundwater there, according to the plan.

In the Smokes Creek corridor, the DEC plans to excavate and dispose of:

  • The top foot of soil on top of the embankment to Smokes Creek
  • At least the top two feet of soil – accounting for about 1,800 cubic yards – on the creek bank's slope

Then, a covering of soil at least a foot deep would be laid on top of any remaining contaminated patches, according to the DEC.

Contamination around Lackawanna incinerator wider than first thought

The DEC became involved after Lackawanna officials sought Superfund assistance for cleanup on the city-owned site in 2006.

The city incinerated municipal garbage at the site between 1927 and 1980.

State environmental officials will hear what the public thinks of their plan at a public meeting later this month.

Officials intend to use those comments to finalize its plan before it begins final designs for the cleanup itself, the DEC said.

The meeting is scheduled to be held at 6 p.m. on April 19 at the Lackawanna Senior Center, 230 Martin Road, the DEC said.

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