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DEC says Henderson marina needs another cleanup of gas contamination


HENDERSON — Groundwater contamination caused by gasoline and oil spills during the summer of 2000 continues to haunt Lake Ontario Mariners Marina.

Despite a major cleanup effort in 2009, groundwater contamination is still pervasive underneath the marina building, according to a cleanup proposal released this week by the state Department of Environmental Conservation. On Wednesday, DEC opened a 30-day public comment period on its plan to cleanup groundwater contamination at the facility off County Route 178 owned by Jeffrey L. and Marla S. Cohen of Fayetteville. Following that period, DEC will release a report outlining action the marina must take to clean up the site.

The move comes after 436 tons of petroleum-contaminated soil and five leaky underground storage tanks were removed during the winter of 2009. Though much of the contamination was remediated by that effort, DEC later discovered that contamination exceeding acceptable levels still is present beneath the on-site building.

The contamination mainly was caused by a gasoline leak at the marina’s fuel station, along with the leak of a 275-gallon above-ground waste oil storage tank that occurred in August 2000, said Stephen W. Litwhiler, DEC spokesman for Region 6.

The agency has had an ongoing investigation that began in 2010 following the initial 2009 cleanup, Mr. Litwhiler said. He said that contaminated soil beneath the building cannot be excavated, because the structure would have to be razed to do so.

Instead, an air sparging system will be used to pump air into the groundwater and cause vapor contaminants to rise from the soil. Underground injection wells also would be used to capture contaminants.

Because the contamination is in an isolated underground area, it does not pose a threat to fish and wildlife at the marina, Mr. Litwhiler said.

“The problem is located at the groundwater immediately under the building, and there is no leeching of the petroleum that would contaminate the water,” he said. “It’s expected that contamination that isn’t cleaned up will dissipate over the next several years, based on work that’s already been done.”

The DEC proposal also calls for the installation of site cover, such as pavements or sidewalks, where contamination exists in the upper foot of exposed surface soil.

The installation of a sub-slab depressurization system may be required to provide fan-powered ventilation inside the marina building.

A summary of the DEC proposal is available online at

A call Friday was not returned by the Cohens, who also own Bayside Marina in Clayton.

The Cohens bought the marina, 12548 Eastman Tract, for $475,000 in March 2002 from George H. Colligan III, who died in 2005 at the age of 63. The marina, built in 1977, had an assessed market value of $687,600 in 2013.

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