State DEC Developing Plan To Address Mayville’s Contaminated Soil

Josh Vaccaro, left, gives a presentation about the Department of Environmental Conservation’s plan to remediate the contaminated soil in Mayville that has impacted the village’s drinking water system. Also pictured is Mayor Rick Syper. Photo by Gregory Bacon

MAYVILLE – After bad firefighting foam was used at the former Mayville High School, the village’s well system was unknowingly polluted with chemicals, causing the village to shut down its public wells.

Now the state is vowing to do its best to clean up the property.

During the recent Mayville Village Board meeting, Chad Stairszewski, Stan Radon and Josh Vaccaro all with the state Department of Environmental Conservation discussed the investigation of the source of the perfluorononanoic acid (PFNA) discovered in Mayville’s water back in 2020 and its remediation plan.

Stairszewski confirmed the water became polluted after the state gave Chautauqua County some firefighting foam, which was used in firefighting training exercises at the Chautauqua Town Municipal Building. At that time, there had not been a concern about PFNA. “I don’t think anybody did it intentionally. This is a whole new set of contaminants that we’re dealing with,” he said.

Stairszewski said Mayville is eligible for the state’s Superfund Program. He said they’re already planning on spending $1 million for testing and developing a plan. It could be another $1 million or more once a plan is finalized.

He said they’re in the process of developing a plan to address the contaminated soil. Next summer they plan on bringing drill rigs to the village to punch holes in the soil, testing for contaminants.

Ideally, by 2025, they will have a plan to remove the contaminated soil. “Once the source is removed, in theory there should be no additional contamination leeching into groundwater, so then it’s just a matter of letting that groundwater flush through the system,” Stairszewski said.

There is no timeline how long it will take for the groundwater to clean up. In the meantime, Mayville has already begun exploring to drill for a new well. It has already put a filter system on one of its contaminated wells.


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