LIVINGSTON COUNTY — Representatives from AkzoNobel have confirmed that they are in negotiations with New York State for a lump settlement to shut down the desalination plant on Oct. 15 with the belief that there will be no adverse affects on the environment.
In the detailed email addressed to Josh Williams, Publisher of the GeneseeSun.com, from Jeroen Pul, Communications Manager for AkzoNobel North America, the plant operates pursuant to a Consent Order with the DEC that will expire on Oct 15. In addition, Pul states that it will be more then 2,000 years before the brine exits the mine. Pul stated that the plant hopes to stop pumping either when a monetary settlement is reached with New York State or the Consent Order expires.
Pul also stated that they intend to break the plant down and sell the components and then possibly donate the building to the Town of Leicester.
Sources have speculated that the plant was to be moved to Pennsylvania where it would be rebuilt to treat frack fluids.
You can read the entire letter below:
To Mr. Josh Williams:
Following your reports on the Retsof plant, I wanted to share with you AkzoNobel’s statement on this matter, please find it below. However, as we are still negotiating with the State, I unfortunately can’t provide you any further details.
Over the past years, pumping up brine has been conducted as a test pursuant to a Consent Order with the State DEC. The conclusion of the test, as explained fully in Dr. Gowan’s Final Report (which is available on-line at http://www.alphageoscience.com/report/Retsof_Report_of_Results.pdf), is that if pumping is stopped brine exiting the mine will have no effect on any source of water currently used for drinking or irrigation or on any source of water likely to be used in the future for drinking or irrigation. The test also demonstrated that this approach to controlling the brine emerging from the mine is not practical, cost-effective or sustainable for the more than 2,000 years that brine will be exiting the mine. Therefore AkzoNobel will stop the pumping when the Consent Order ends or a settlement is reached with the State. The latest extension of the Consent Order runs out on October 15, but discussions with the State are ongoing so the timing of stopping the pumping has not been determined.
Rather than continue the pumping test, which serves no further useful purpose, AkzoNobel proposes to make a substantial lump-sum payment to the State to be used to fund useful public works projects in Livingston County.
The plant was built for the sole purpose of disposing of the brine in an environmentally safe manner, instead of trucking the brine out of state for disposal. After a wind-down period, AkzoNobel plans to dismantle the plant and sell its components to anyone who wants them. We are open to donating the building to the Town of Leicester after we remove the equipment, if the town has a use for it and wants it.
We do not anticipate any immediate layoffs at the plant. The employees of the Retsof facility work for a contractor hired by the insurance companies, not for AkzoNobel. We anticipate they will be needed for a period of time after the pumping ends to conduct an orderly wind down of the plant and that reasonable and fair separation terms will be worked out when they are no longer needed to run the plant.
The wells in the area draw drinking water from the upper aquifer and middle aquifer. There is also a deep aquifer, with physical barriers separating it from the upper and middle aquifers. The scientists all agree that any brine that exits the mine will stay in the deep aquifer, which is too far below the surface to be used for wells for drinking water or irrigation. In addition, the deep aquifer is not a reservoir of fresh water – it is a large layer of rock, sand, gravel and dirt that is permeated with water and has pockets of brine and brackish water that are naturally present. It is not currently suitable for drinking without treatment. The Final Report of the pumping test required by the Consent Order explains that brine which exits the mine will migrate along the bottom of the deep aquifer when the pumping stops.
The geologist who has overseen the monitoring done in connection with the pumping test has concluded that the brine will have no material effect on the deep aquifer. All the scientists are in agreement that, if the pumping is stopped, there will be no impact on the surface, the upper and middle aquifers, or any water used today, or likely ever to be used in the future, for drinking water and irrigation.
AkzoNobel North America