County Legislature Introduces Local Law to Limit
Troy, NY - - The Rensselaer County Legislature tonight introduced a local law to limit the discharge of likely carcinogen 1,4-dioxane in Rensselaer County. The Legislature did so following the continued failure of the EPA and the State of New York to take action to limit the discharge of the contaminant.
The introduced local law, which limits the discharge of 1,4-dioxane to 0.35 parts per billion (ppb), will be voted on at the November meeting of the Legislature. Once passed into law, the EPA will have to ensure that the .35ppb limit is met.
1,4-dioxane is found in the contaminated groundwater at the Dewey Loeffel Landfill Superfund Site in Nassau in Southern Rensselaer County. Partially treated discharges of the contaminated groundwater at the site this year alone have found over nine parts per billion of the contaminant present. The partially treated water is discharged into the Valatie Kill which flows through Rensselaer and Columbia Counties.
“This is a serious public health issue and it is time for the federal government to treat it as one,” said Alex Shannon, Vice Chairman of the Legislature.
“The failure of the EPA to properly limit the presence of this contaminant is unacceptable and has forced us to act on behalf of the residents of Rensselaer County,” said County Legislator Judy Breselor.
“Limiting the discharge of the contaminant into our environment is a major step forward in dealing with the damage this federal Superfund site has done to our community,” said County Legislator Bob Loveridge.
Shannon, Breselor and Loveridge represent Legislative District 4, which includes the town of Nassau.
The EPA has classified 1,4-dioxane as “likely to be carcinogenic to humans.”
“This proposed law is not just a vital piece of legislation to protect the residents of Nassau and southern Rensselaer County; it will have a dramatic impact on the Hudson River Watershed and New York State policy. I commend Legislators Loveridge, Shannon and Breselor for fighting for the protection of our residents by advancing legislation to prevent contamination of Rensselaer County waterways. Clean water is a right and should not be a privilege,” said Nassau Supervisor David Fleming.
County Executive Kathy Jimino will hold a public hearing on the introduced local law after the legislature votes on its passage at their November meeting.
"The continued release of 1,4-dioxane into our environment, potentially contaminating water supplies, is completely unacceptable. While I feel strongly that issues such as this should be addressed at the state and federal level, their inaction up to this point demands that we take action at the local level,” said Kathy Jimino.
The local law reads:
1. Notwithstanding any provision of law to the contrary, no discharge of the contaminant 1,4-dioxane shall occur into the environment of Rensselaer County from any water treatment system on property in which the County has a fee simple ownership interest and which shall have been declared a State or Federal Superfund site where such discharge shall be in excess of 0.35 ppb.
2. The operator of the water treatment system shall be responsible for testing the water being discharged to determine the amount of 1,4-doxane and reporting that to the County of Rensselaer Department of Health. The frequency of such testing shall be at the discretion of the Rensselaer County Department of Health but shall not be more often than weekly.
3. If a person or entity violates any rule or regulation promulgated pursuant to this local law relating to a temporary or permanent source or act of contamination, the Rensselaer County Department of Health may impose a civil penalty for the violation thereof or the noncompliance therewith, not exceeding one thousand dollars for each and every such violation or noncompliance.
Once passed, the EPA will be forced to test the contaminated water being discharged on a weekly basis to ensure the contaminant is found to be at or lower than the 0.35 ppb standard and report those findings to the Rensselaer County Department of Health.