The MGP Program At DEC
What is DEC Doing About MGP sites?
DEC has one of the most aggressive MGP site investigation and remediation programs in the country. Since the problems associated with the former MGP sites were identified, DEC has been working with all the utilities on a state-wide basis to identify and address the issue of MGP sites for which they may have responsibility. This effort has resulted in approximately 220 sites identified for action by the 8 utilities operating in New York State. Currently we have individual or multi-site orders or agreements with all eight of these utilities and several other individual site volunteers, to address 218 of these sites.
The seven utilities with multi-site orders/agreements are: Central Hudson Gas and Electric; Consolidated Edison of New York and Key Span Energy, which has responsibility for former Long Island Lighting Company and Brooklyn Union Gas sites; New York State Electric & Gas; Niagara Mohawk, A National Grid Company; Rochester Gas and Electric Company; and Orange and Rockland Utilities. Individual site orders and agreements are also in place with National Fuel Gas.
DEC continues to seek to identify any other possible MGP sites throughout the State.
Are Former MGPs State Superfund Sites? Could These Sites be Listed?
Currently there are 15 Class 2 MGP sites on the Registry of Inactive Hazardous Waste Disposal Sites. While most MGP sites would likely qualify as State Superfund sites, at this time, DEC has agreed to defer this listing if a utility has entered into an order/agreement to investigate and remediate those for which they are responsible. However, if at any time the utility does not comply with the requirements of their order/agreement, DEC can and will initiate listing of these sites.
To date, only one MGP site in New York State has been placed on the USEPA's National Priority List (NPL) for cleanup under the Federal Superfund law. This site is located in Saratoga Springs.
There are 26 additional MGP sites in New York for which the utilities listed above appear to have no legal liability. These were primarily small plants that operated for relatively short periods of time and produced relatively small amounts of contamination. These are currently being evaluated for action under the State Superfund.
How Does NYSDEC Prioritize Site Remedial Activities at MGP sites?
Prioritization of remedial activities at former MGP sites is an ongoing process. As additional information on the nature and extent of contamination at each site becomes available, or if interim remedial measures (IRMs) are completed, the relative rankings of each site may change.
Prior to the Site Characterization, little information other than the physical setting of the site is typically available. At this stage, sites are prioritized according to the existing use of the site and nearby properties and the site's proximity to sensitive environmental receptors. Prioritization of site characterization starts will be made based on the following considerations:
- Existing residential use or institutional (schools, etc.) use of the site;
- Existing residential or mixed residential use of properties adjacent to or in close proximity to the site;
- Reliance on private water supply wells by the public in close proximity to the site;
- Public water supply wells in close proximity to the site;
- Sensitive environmental resources such as Class A or B surface waters, sole source aquifers or endangered aquatic species habitats;
- Public recreational lands;
- Potential for reuse of the property;
- Active commercial/industrial property; or,
- Abandoned commercial/industrial
How Many MGP Sites Are in New York State?
Our best estimate is that there were roughly 260 sites where manufactured gas was produced or stored, either for distribution to the public or other uses. Of these, remedial programs are either under way or scheduled to start at 240. NYSDEC is currently working to identify how many other sites may exist in New York, and where they are located. At this stage, however, it appears that the utility-operated sites currently identified represent the most significant MGPs, by virtue of their larger size.