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Possible Soil Contamination At Old Salt Mine Site


SENECA LAKE (WENY)-- A local environmental database firm is publishing information regarding concerns about oil contamination at an old salt mine on Seneca Lake. Walter Hang from Toxics Targeting told us today that a now-banned practice involved injecting toxic fuel into an old salt mine, to protected the it from dissolving towards the earth's surface. He claims this outdated practice could be the reason for oil contamination of Seneca Lake.

"No one knew where this oil was originating until Crestwood U.S Salt kindly wrote me, and that's how come this is a very important disclosure of a historic legacy of toxic contamination that the community never knew about," says Hang.

Walter Hang says he received a letter from Crestwood U.S. Salt earlier this month, that identified a technique called oil padding, that is no longer used - although it was a common practice back in the 1970's. In 1975, a well owned by International Salt Company contained 40-thousand gallons of number two fuel oil. In February of that year, there was an incident that led to oil getting into Seneca Lake. In 1995, NYSEG discovered contaminated soil in the same area. Hang says once this oil is in the ground, it's virtually impossible to get out. That's why he wrote Governor Cuomo a letter, asking to investigate other wells along the Seneca Lake area.

"The question is: are any of the other wells leaking, and are they also polluting Seneca Lake, the source of drinking water for the local residents," Hang says.

Hang says the contamination is attributed to the oil padding technique, which was once commonly used. This is a method involving fuel injections into salt mines to keep the roof from collapsing.

WENY reached to Crestwood, which took over the property in 2008. They tell us the #49 well, where the 1975 spill originated, is in no way connected to their proposed L-P-G storage project.

In a statement, Vice President Brad Bacon says-"The DEC staff has called out opponents of propane storage for referencing facts and principles that are unproven or irrelevant. The fact is, the DEC has all of this information at its dispoal, and its experts undeniably support the mertis of our propane storage proposal."

For DEC letters regarding Crestwood's Propane Storage Project, click on this link: 22 2016 LPS to CALJ%5B8%5D%5B12%5D%5B2%5D.PDF?dl=0 or this link: reply brief%2C Finger Lake LPG Storage.pdf?dl=0.

For more information about the 1975 spill, click on this link: