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Curran’s wood pellets helping to clean up former GM Site

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MASSENA — Thanks to a little help from Curran Renewable Energy, the cleanup of the former GM site is on schedule and not creating any additional dust or gas in the air.

“There’s no odor or anything,” said Anne E. Kelly, remedial project manager for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. “I can’t believe it’s just wood.”

Ms. Kelly said that at the urging of Perras Excavating, which has been working at the cleanup site, crews began using wood pellets from Curran to help absorb sludge from the site.

“They bring it in by the truckload,” Ms. Kelly said, adding that the pellets help solidify the sludge, making for easy transport off site.

“It starts out as soupy, nasty sludge,” she said. “Over the course of a day it binds up.”

Ms. Kelly said the solidified sludge is hauled via rail to a facility in Indiana. Nontoxic waste from the site is transported via truck to the Casella landfill in Clinton County.

M. Brendan Mullen, cleanup manager for the site’s owner, the Revitalizing Auto Communities Environmental Response Trust, said that so far approximately 12,000 tons of toxic waste have been sent to Indiana and an additional 5,000 tons of nontoxic waste sent to Clinton County.

“The majority of the remediation that is left is on the outskirts of the main plant site,” Mr. Mullen said. “The main footprint of the site has been remediated.”

While it is still relatively early in the cleanup process, Ms. Kelly said, work at the site is slated to be completed on time.

“It’s early in the project, so it’s easy to say we’re on track, but all of this will be gone by the end of the year,” she said. “The schedule says November, but hopefully we can be done early.”

St. Lawrence County Legislator Anthony J. Arquiett, who chairs the GM Task Force, asked RACER Redevelopment Manager Bruce Rasher if he feels the remediation efforts will help make the property more marketable.

“Yeah, I do,” he said, adding that as the cleanup nears completion, RACER will hold a “major press announcement.”

“Within a few days we got the attention of some major players,” Mr. Rasher said, reflecting on a similar media event at a RACER site in New Jersey.

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