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Lawmakers question EPA in Dewey Loeffel Landfill cleanup

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Albany/HV: Lawmakers question EPA in Dewey Loeffel Landfill cleanup
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The next step of the long awaited cleanup of the Dewey Loeffel Landfill in Rensselaer County is expected to start this week. The site is where EPA officials said more than 46,000 tons of waste was dumped more than 50 years ago. But as our Jon Dougherty reports, although the community is happy to see progress in the cleanup, they're questioning how the EPA is going about it.

RENSSELAER COUNTY, N.Y. -- Representatives from all levels of government stood together inside Nassau Town Hall Tuesday. The group called on the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to reevaluate the new water treatment facility at the Dewey Loeffel Landfill Supersite. The facility is expected to start treating contaminated groundwater this week.

"We will not stand for a mistake made, especially since we're beginning to travel down the right road," said Rep. Chris Gibson.

Cleanup at the site has been going on since 2011 when it was named to the Federal Supersite National Priority List. The EPA said companies like General Electric and Schenectady Chemicals dumped more than 46,000 tons of waste materials there in the 1950s and 1960s. The elected officials said the issue affects more than just the immediate area.

"The Valatie Kill flows right through it, as well as through towns into Columbia County and then into the Hudson River," said Town of Nassau Supervisor David Fleming Jr.

The group praised the cleanup progress, but is concerned that the water treatment facility might do more harm than good.

"We are not going to stand by while another generation of young children, or children who are not born are exposed to additional contamination while we have the opportunity to do something about it," Supervisor Fleming said.

An EPA spokesperson, Larisa Romanowski, said by phone that the agency is monitoring the process very closely and assures the community that no contaminated water will be put back into local waterways.

She added that water collected and treated from the site must pass stringent tests before being released.

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