Ti fined for highway garage pollution

TICONDEROGA - The state Department of Environmental Conservation has fined Ticonderoga $210,000 for problems discovered earlier this year at the town highway garage.

The town has not actually paid any of the fines, though, in an agreement with the DEC that has allowed most of the fine money to be used to clean up the pollution and correct the problems.

Ticonderoga still owes the DEC about $16,000.

"We haven't had to pay anything to DEC, but I wouldn't say we weren't fined," Ti Supervisor Deb Malaney said. "We've had to make a big investment."

Ticonderoga's problem surfaced when about two gallons of gasoline was spilled on the floor of the Ticonderoga highway garage last 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 investigation 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.

DEC ordered the town to excavate and remove tons of contaminated soil.

Besides removing polluted soil, the highway department was 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.

That work has all been done at a cost of about $180,000, Malaney said.

The supervisor praised the highway department for working with DEC and correcting the problems.

"The highway department did an exemplary job in addressing this issue quickly and thoroughly," Malaney said. "DEC recognized that."

Now the DEC wants the town to make improvements to its road salt storage facility to prevent possible run off.

Malaney has asked the DEC for permission to use the remaining $16,000 fine money for the salt storage project.

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