A local developer is considering building on a portion of land that was the site of a toxic plume about a mile long between Dryer and Modock roads in Victor.
Auburn Meadows — not to be confused with a subdivision by the same name under construction in Farmington — is a newly proposed subdivision being considered by Frank DiFelice of DiFelice Associates, LP in Victor and includes a portion of land that was part of the contaminated area.
The southwest edge of the property was a portion of the plume area, confirmed Victor Code Enforcement Officer Alan Benedict.
Routine community water supplies sampled in 1990 led to the discovery of approximately 100 million gallons of groundwater contaminated, as far back as 1981, with an estimated 1,000 gallons of solvent originating at or near Syracusa Sand and Gravel Inc.’s mine at 1389 Malone Road.
The principal toxin, TCE — a solvent used to remove grease or adhesive or to strip paint — can harm the central nervous, immune and reproductive systems; impair fetal development; and, in high doses with prolonged exposure, cause cancer, according to the state Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC).
Toxins were found in the soil as well, and 26 homes had their air quality tested. Several had vapor mitigation systems installed. Residents served by private wells in the area were advised to hook up to public water.
Contamination was contained to a small area where levels of toxicity were declining, according to the DEC. The department is installing long-term monitoring to make sure levels continue to decline.
Health concerns for a subdivision proposed in the area of the toxic plume would be addressed further into the subdivision application process — an application for Auburn Meadows has not been received, yet.
“(The state Department of Health) would review the proposal, and as part of that review we would assess potential health concerns,” said Jeffrey Hammond, the spokesman for New York State Public Health.
With a swamp and one pre-existing home on the 144-acre property, Auburn Meadows — which is bordered by Oak Ridge Drive, Modock Road and Cork Road — also raises concerns with Planning Board members over road access and development of steep slopes greater than 15 percent, which are on all 71 lots proposed to be subdivided.
“The board looks to protect steep slopes,” said Victor Planning Board member Heather Zollo. Although the town has no local law or code prohibiting development on steep slopes, Zollo explained that a formal goal set forth in the town’s comprehensive plan provides that guidance. To avoid steep slopes, Zollo suggested the developer approach the DEC to see if he could go through the wetlands to put in an access road. Wetlands should also be protected, she said; however, she noted, other developers have been allowed to fill in wetlands.
Gary Smith, the project manager with Parrone Engineering in Rochester, said that the DEC will not allow the developer to disturb the wetlands.