NYSDEC Begins Genesee River Cleanup

The Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) has begun dredging work to remove pockets of sediment contaminated with silver in the Genesee River below Lower Falls.

This work follows the recommendations of a corrective measures study, finalized in 2020, of the impact of chemicals released by Eastman Business Park on river water, sediments, fish, and other organisms.  The study and subsequent remediation work are being paid by the Kodak-Environmental Response Trust, initially funded during the Kodak bankruptcy process in 2012-13.

Remediation work is being conducted in three areas shown on the map below, according to the following schedule:

  • Dredging work in Wetland C (pink shaded area on the east side of Turning Basin) began on June 1st and will continue until mid-July.  Backfilling will extend into late August and restoration planting of this area is expected to be complete by October 30th.
  • Dredging in Areas of Concern (AOC) #1 (green) and #2 (orange) will begin in late July and continue to late September.  Capping of these sites will be done between late September and early November.
  • The project staging area at Kings Landing (KLWWTP on the map) will be restored by December 1st.

Approximately 25,000 cubic yards of sediment will be removed from these areas, transferred to shore at Kings Landing, and disposed of off-site.  Clean fill, meeting an ecological use standard, will be brought in and used to restore the dredged wetland areas to their original grades.  Total cost of the project is estimated at $8.3 million.

Boaters should observe any navigational aids placed to direct them around the work areas.  Access to the Genesee Riverway Trail on the west side of the river will not be affected.

The DEC assesses the Lower Genesee water quality as “Impaired”, saying that it is “suitable for public bathing, general recreation use and support of aquatic life, but not as a water supply”.  You can find out more at WI/PWL Fact Sheets – Lower Genesee Watershed (0413000307) (ny.gov).  The New York State Department of Health publishes advisories on eating fish caught in the state.  These advisories vary depending on species, size, and location.  See Fish: Health Advice on Eating Fish You Catch (ny.gov) for more information.

For further information on the DEC’s studies of the impact of Eastman Business Park on the Genesee and the cleanup plan, go to Eastman Business Park (Kodak) – NYS Dept. of Environmental Conservation

Project staging area at Kings Landing

Dredging Operation at Wetland C (east side of Turning Basin)

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