Officials estimate Massena cleanup in Grasse River will take five years
Friday, October 20, 2017 - 3:14 pm


Dan Casey from Arcadis shows the Town Council a photo of what the site now looks like. North Country Now photo by Andy Gardner.


MASSENA -- Arcadis and the Environmental Protection Agency officials estimate a five-year project to remediate pollution in the Grasse River caused by Alcoa.

Arconic split from Alcoa in 2016. The portion of the Alcoa plant that is now Arconic leaked contaminants including polychlorinated biphenyls into the causeway that flowed downstream and polluted the Grasse River. The Grasse in that area flows south and empties into the St. Lawrence River below Snell Lock.

At the Wednesday meeting, Dan Casey from Arcadis and Yueng Chang from the EPA updated the Town Council on the project to clean up the pollution.

Arcadis is the engineering firm that Arconic has hired to do the cleanup project.

Casey said they are building a water treatment facility at the former Seaway Valley Modelaires flying field at the intersection of county Route 42 and state Route 131. Barges from there will take loads of contaminated soil to be treated, Casey said.

Chang said the project will clean sediment in a 7.2 mile stretch from the old power dam upstream to the confluence with the St. Lawrence River downstream.

The total project will take five to six years, Chang said. Most of the cleanup won’t start until 2019. She said there is a small amount of soil they will clean up next year because it is inside a steel barrier they are building at the site.

Town Supervisor Joe Gray said he hopes after the project is done, the dock they are building will be transferred to the town for public use.

“We’ve had some discussion at public availability sessions that that would be a very attractive thing to leave there, longer term,” he said.

The Town of Massena is not a party in the settlement that is cleaning the river. The involved parties are the state Department of Environmental Conservation, the St. Regis Mohawk Tribe, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and U.S. Fish and Wildlife, Chang said.