Get the Sleepy Hollow GM Cleanup Right—the First Time

 

 

GM Development Site

General Motors manufactured cars in Sleepy Hollow for 82 years, and it could leave much of the contamination that resulted from its operations in the ground and in the Hudson River, if a proposed Department of Environmental Conservation plan stands. The public has its best opportunity to demand a DEC Brownfield Cleanup plan worthy of the Hudson River and this community at an upcoming public hearing:

When: Thursday March 22 at 7 p.m.
Where: Village of Sleepy Hollow Senior Center, 55 Elm Street

The GM site, which was occupied by a brick yard and other industries before GM’s tenure began in 1913, is nearly 100 acres of filled land that once was Pocantico Bay, a part of the Hudson River. Pollution, including toxic heavy metals, solvents and petroleum, now permeates the soil, soil vapor, groundwater and river sediments.

The DEC proposal to cap contaminated sediments and dredge a small area of river bottom would leave most of this contamination in place, and would neither prepare the site for redevelopment nor reclaim lost habitats in the Hudson River. Riverkeeper encourages the public to attend the public hearing and express its concerns, including the need to:

  • Dig up contaminated soil. Even if capped, contaminated soils could continue to leach pollution into groundwater, the Hudson River and the air. Leaving contaminated soil in place will only delay the cleanup that would be necessary before the site could be redeveloped.
  • Dredge contaminated sediments. The proposal calls for dredging contamination from only one small area of the Hudson, when sediments in a wider area around the site are contaminated. Leaving contaminants in the sediment would run counter to a key goal of the Clean Water Act – making fish safe for consumption.
  • Restore habitat. Most of the Hudson River’s wetlands, bays and shallows have been filled, and habitat loss is one reason 10 of 13 key species of Hudson fish are in decline. Any cleanup or redevelopment plans should incorporate meaningful habitat restoration.

To learn more, read the DEC’s plan for the GM site, and Riverkeeper’s background on the site.

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