A fuel oil leak was discovered last Friday by excavators working to dismantle the town’s scavenger waste plant in Greenport, but New York State Department of Environmental Conservation officials said this week that the small spill had been confined to an area surrounding the fill pipe for a 550 gallon underground oil tank at the site.
Town Councilman Vincent Orlando, who had been an engineer in charge of oil and hazardous waste spills at Miller Environmental Group before working for the town, was with DEC investigators on the site on Moore’s Lane Monday.
He said that last Friday excavators from the firm D.F. Stone, which is demolishing the 20-plus-year-old cesspool plant, found soil contaminated with oil around the top of a tank that had been used to heat a small building at the waste plant.
The DEC concluded that a small leak in the fill pipe must have caused the contamination, which luckly was only seeping out while the tank was being filled, said DEC spokesman Bill Fonda.
Another firm, L.K. McLean Associates, excavated 30 yards of contaminated sand, which will be taken to a site that is certified to accept oil-tainted sand, said Mr. Fonda. That firm will inform the DEC of where the contaminated soil will be taken for disposal.
Mr. Orlando said that the town’s contract with D.F. Stone includes a contingency line allowing the contractor to manage the cleanup without increasing the cost of the project.
The contractors are expected to backfill the previously contaminated area this week, and the first phase of the demolition project will be completed before Thanksgiving.
The plant was built by Southold Town on land owned by Greenport Village in the 1980s, after which the village was in charge of operating it. But the plant never operated well and the village requested that the town demolish it, as the town had agreed to do in the original contract when the plant was built. The demolition is expected to cost the town more than $673,000.