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DEC proposes environmental cleanup plan for former Sylvania plant in Seneca Falls

Thousands of television sets were manufactured at the former Sylvania Electric and Phillips Electronic Component Group plant at 50 Johnston St. from the late 1940s until the 1980s.

The TV manufacturing process also left behind some contamination of the 64-acre property and the state Department of Environmental Conservation is proposing a remedy to clean up the site.

The public is invited to comment on the remedy proposed by the DEC from now until March 30. If there is sufficient interest in this project, based on comments received, the DEC will set up a public hearing.

The site is a complex of interconnected buildings constructed between 1914 and the 1970s. The buildings cover about 13 acres, with the remaining 51 acres being asphalt parking lots, roadways, grassy areas and woods.

Waste water was discharged from outfalls into drainage ditches and into the nearby Cayuga-Seneca Canal. Currently, only roof drains and storm water discharge to an interceptor trench outfall, which discharges to the Cayuga-Seneca Canal.

As part of TV production, Phillips ECG and Sylvania disposed of potentially hazardous material associated with television manufacturing. A DEC investigation of the contamination has divided the site into five areas of concern — or AOCs — further divided into two Operable Units, OU1 and OU2.

Based on investigations to date, the primary contaminants of concern for this site include trichloroethylene or TCE, its breakdown products and cadmium. Soils are potentially contaminated with dense non-aqueous phase chlorinated solvents. In groundwater, concentrations of TCE and its breakdown products, called Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs), exceed standards of 5 parts per billion. VOC concentrations in soil vapor and indoor air also exceed concentration levels, triggering a recommendation for mitigation in some buildings.

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