Cleanup to begin at former Cohoes gas plant

Albany County

COHOES, N.Y. (NEWS10) — A major environmental project to cleanup contamination near the Mohawk River in Cohoes will begin the first week of September. The state is taking action and neighbors are ready to see change.

The site consists of a grass covered field, which is fenced and a wooded area. The cleanup activities will be performed by National Grid with oversight provided by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation.

The site was a place where Donna Pyskadlo made fond memories as a child. She even got married there, but she never thought the ground under her feet could be contaminated.

“Growing up we used to hang down there, we called it the field or the gas house. All the time we used to go to the field and play down there,” said Pyskadlo.  

Contamination of coal tar was found in the subsurface near the former Cohoes Linden Street Manufactured Gas Plant. The manufactured gas plant operated on the site from 1852 to 1949.

The site is located between Whitehall and Linden Street. The Mohawk River borders the site to the east, NYS Route 787 borders the site to the west.

As a nearby resident, Pyskadlo says the contamination near her home has always been in the back of her mind.

“I’m concerned about the kind of chemicals out there and if I could be affected. I’m worried if it could come up here near my home,” said she.

The remedial activities will require significant tree clearing and closing of Linden Street Extension. The preparations will be made to ensure local services like trash, fire, etc. will not be disrupted.

The estimated cost to implement the remedy is $13,570,000. The cleanup is expected to last approximately 15 months.

“It takes a lot of time, so it is important we make sure to clean up all the remnants of those manufactured gas plants. The most important part is making sure those sites are usable again,” Patrick Stella, National Grid Communications Manager.  

The goal of the site’s cleanup action is to achieve cleanup levels that protect public health and the environment.

Daniel Eaton from the NYSDEC says the contamination has migrated downward in the subsurface and to the east toward the Mohawk River.

“One of the problems with the coal tar is it can be very odorless. There will be systems such as the Community Air Monitoring Plan in place during the remediation that will be able to control the odors,” said Eaton.

Pyskadlo says she doesn’t have any problems with the project starting, but she doesn’t want any harm done to her or her neighbors.

“I don’t think there will be any chemicals or stuff in air. It’s just probably going to be all dusty. I just hope the animas are protected because we have a lot of wildlife down here,” said she.

During the whole project NYSDEC will be sending progress updates via email or you can go the city of Cohoes website.

It is not decided what the site will eventually will be used for. For more information on the site you can visit the NYSDEC website and enter the site ID, 401078.

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