MIDDLEPORT – FMC Corp. announced Monday that it plans to test arsenic levels in soil at an additional 45 properties as part of its ongoing clean-up in the Village of Middleport.
The work is being carried out at the behest of the state Department of Environmental Conservation and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, as part of their efforts to locate and remediate arsenic and other chemicals in the soil. Those deposits are blamed on emissions from FMC’s agricultural chemical plant in Middleport, which has been in business for 112 years.
The new testing, on predominantly residential properties, will occur north of the Erie Canal along a stream called Tributary 1, which leads to Jeddo and Johnson creeks. The work will be going on at the same time as soil testing at 26 properties near Tributary 1, south of the canal and north of Francis Street. That work was announced after a June 2 agreement between FMC and the agencies.
As in the first batch of work, the new testing will check for the amount and depth of arsenic in soil, in order to figure out much remediation is needed.
Test results for each property will be given to the owner. Property owners who want to question FMC representatives may do so at the company’s community office, 8 S. Vernon St., from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Monday, Tuesdasy and Thursday, or by appointment at 735-9769.
FMC and the environmental agencies have been battling over the proper amount of soil to remove from properties in Middleport. FMC sued the DEC over the agency’s decision to dig up enough soil to bring every spot on each individual property in the cleanup area below the naturally-occurring “background level” for arsenic, which is 20 parts per million in the Middleport area. The case remains unresolved.
FMC contends it would be cheaper and just as effective to make the average arsenic level on each property 20 parts per million. Under terms of a consent order with the DEC, FMC is supposed to pay for the cleanup work, but is refusing to pay for this summer’s remediation on the Royalton-Hartland Central School campus and elsewhere in the village.
At numerous public meetings in the past, village residents have largely opposed the cleanup work, saying they’ve experienced no harmful health impacts from the arsenic.