DEC: NY Open Spills Down 60 Percent Since 2003


truckThe number of open spill cases administered by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation’s Spill Response Program involving unauthorized spills and contaminant discharges decreased by 61 percent over the past eight years, according to a report released today by DEC Commissioner Joe Martens. DEC also recovered $28.2 million during fiscal year 2010-11 through four remediation programs DEC administers.

“DEC’s remediation programs protect the public health and the environment by making sure pollutants, chemicals and other harmful materials are cleaned up and taken care of,” Commissioner Martens said. “DEC has made great progress in cleaning up spills with 60 percent less open spills today than eight years ago. Site remediation is also an important component of economic development that allows sites to be redeveloped. This reuse of formally contaminated sites allows greenfield sites to remain green.”

DEC’s Spill Response Program works to ensure timely responses to unauthorized spills and discharges of contaminants by investigating and remediating such incidents. In January 2003 when the Program’s spill closure initiative began, there were 32,948 open spills in New York State. At the end of fiscal year 2010-11 that number had decreased to 12,752.

DEC recovered a total of $28.2 million in the last fiscal year from remedial parties to pay for site cleanup and remediation. Through the Spill Response Program, DEC recovered $14.8 million. The State Superfund Program, Brownfield Cleanup Program and Voluntary Cleanup Program recovered $10 million, $2.2 million and $1.2 million, respectively.

In addition, DEC approved 38 Brownfield Cleanup Program applications in 2010-11, which is 12 more than during the previous fiscal year. DEC received 46 brownfields applications in fiscal year 2010-11, which is up by 15 from the previous year. This suggests there is increasing interest in redeveloping sites across the state.