Work Begins on Grasse River Cleanup Facility in Massena

Construction work has begun on a facility in Massena, NY to support the estimated $243 million cleanup of the Grasse River Superfund Site, reports the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

When constructed, the multipurpose facility will be used as a staging area to support dredging and capping operations.

In 2013, the EPA finalized a cleanup plan to address river sediment that is contaminated with polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) as a result of past industrial activities.

Arconic Inc. (formerly Alcoa) is performing the work. The EPA, the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation and the Saint Regis Mohawk Tribe are working together on the oversight and coordination of the various components of the cleanup project.

Cleanup of the Grasse River will be done through dredging and capping of contaminated sediment in a 7.2-mile stretch of river. The plan calls for dredging approximately 109,000 cubic yards of sediment from near-shore areas of the river.

In the river’s main channel, approximately 59 acres of sediment will be covered with an armored cap and another approximately 225 acres of contaminated sediment will be capped with a mix of clean sand and topsoil to isolate the contamination from the surrounding environment.

This spring, a staging area will be constructed for the unloading of sediment dredged from areas near the shore of the river. The area will also be used to stage and load clean materials that will be used to backfill dredged areas and to cap the river bottom during the in-river cleanup. The staging area is planned to be completed by November 2017.

The engineering plans and other design work necessary for the dredging and capping work are under development. At this time, the schedule for the start of in-river cleanup work has not yet been determined.

According to the EPA, this year’s work includes clearing and grading of the staging area, installation of a water transfer line, construction of a docking facility along the riverfront, and removal of a small amount of sediment along the shoreline next to the staging area.

This spring’s construction work also includes expansion of the permitted, licensed on-site Arconic Massena West landfill so that it can store dredged sediment and other materials generated this year and when the river cleanup work is performed.

The EPA will hold public meetings on May 9 in Massena and May 10 in Akwesasne to discuss the details of the staging area construction work.

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