Old Oil Spill Hazard Leaks Into 2019

The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) discovered gasoline-contaminated soil in the Town of New Paltz and issued a Notice of Violation to review the soil.

The gasoline-contaminated soil is located behind the Department of Public Works (DPW) garage and is said to be related to a 1998 spill at the same location.

 “In 1998, the Town and Village jointly owned Gas and Diesel tanks that were behind the Village DPW,” said Town of New Paltz Buildings and Ground Supervisor, Chris Marx. “At some point one or both gas tanks started to leak and all three tanks were removed and the site was remediated and an all-clear was given to both the Town and Village.”

 In 2017, the Town and Village-owned separate underground heating oil tanks on that same site when the DEC found that there was an oil leak coming from the Village’s tank. 

 The Village had its tank dug up and the ground beneath was cleaned and tested for further contaminants. The Town also had its tank dug up, despite it being in good condition, and installed above-ground tanks instead.

 “During remediation, gasoline-contaminated soils were detected and the DEC exercised their right to investigate the 1998 spill further,” said Town Supervisor Neil Bettez.

 The gasoline found in the soil by the DEC was ruled to be from the 1998 gasoline leak because the 2017 leak consisted of only heating oil. The DEC decided to file a new spill report for 2019 instead of reopening the report from 1998, as it had been considered remediated at the time.

 “It is believed that either a pocket of contaminated dirt was missed in the 1998 clean up or product was seeping out from under the footings from the DPW that could not be reached on the original spill,” Marx said.

 At the Town of New Paltz meeting on Sept. 5, the board authorized a payment of $15,000 for the assessment and cleaning of the contaminated soil, and said that the Village of New Paltz would also be approving a payment of $15,000, for a combined $30,000.

 “Because the gas was shared back in ‘98, the Town and Village will share the cleanup expenses now. Up to $30k split evenly,” said Mayor Tim Rogers.

 On Sept. 11, The Village of New Paltz and the Town of New Paltz held a joint meeting where they discussed the gasoline spill. At this meeting, the Town and Village hired DT Consulting Service to assess the damage of the soil.

 DT Consulting Service will complete an “analysis to delineate the nature and extent of subsurface contamination behind the DPW garage from 1998’s gasoline spill,” according to the Sept. 11 meeting’s agenda.

 “The Town and the Village will be doing exploratory work starting in October along with [DT Consulting Service] to find out if it is a small area that was missed in 1998 or a larger issue that will need to be addressed,” Marx said.