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Ticonderoga faces state fine

TICONDEROGA - Ticonderoga will be fined by the state for allowing contaminants to leak from the town highway garage into soil.

Local officials have received an official notice from the state Department of Environmental Conservation alerting them of the fine, according to Supervisor Deb Malaney.

The amount of the fine is yet to be determined and will depend on the amount of contamination found as the area around the highway garage is cleaned up. That process is ongoing.

"At this point things are going well and we're optimistic we can solve the problem at less expense than we initially believed," Malaney said.

"We're moving forward and staying in close contact with the DEC," she added. "We'd like to have this all wrapped up before snow falls. It looks like we're right on target."

Ticonderoga's problem surfaced when about two gallons of gasoline was spilled on the floor of the Ticonderoga highway garage this spring. The spill was immediately cleaned up.

An unnamed community member learned of the accident and reported it to the state Department of Environmental Conservation, Malaney said. That led to a DEC investigation.

While investigating the spill, the DEC officer saw an abandoned drain in the garage floor. Further investigate revealed the drain led to a dry well outside the garage.

The drain and dry well were installed when the highway garage was built in 1953, Malaney said, and had not been used since the 1970s.

Concerned about possible past contamination, DEC ordered Ticonderoga to have soil samples taken from around the highway garage. Those sampled revealed pollution.

To date, about 1,000 tons of contaminated soil have been removed from the highway garage at a cost of about $70,000, Malaney said. Further excavation is still required, she said.

Besides removing polluted soil, the highway department is also being required to connect the floor drain to the public sewer system, upgrade its containment systems, improve its fuel storage area and keep smaller amounts of fuel on site, Malaney said.

"The DEC has been very easy to work with," the supervisor said. "They've offered suggestions on cost-savings measures while still maintaining focus on safety and compliance."

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