LIVINGSTON COUNTY — The New York State Department of Conservation (DEC) and Gov. Cuomo have permitted a shutdown of the Desalination plant in Leicester to take place this Sunday.
According to Bill Nojay, New York State Assemblyman, elected officials were notified as of 3 p.m. this Friday the 13th of the shutdown.
” The Cuomo Administration informed Livingston County officials and State Legislators, including my office, at 3 p.m. on Friday that the brine facility was closing on Sunday. That is an outrageously arrogant, inappropriate action by the Governor and his DEC staff. It is simply unacceptable for the Cuomo Administration to close this facility against the wishes of town, county and state legislative elected officials, without an adequate chance for a court hearing or other opportunity to oppose the Governor’s actions. This decision imperils the groundwater and aquifer of Livingston County. I will work with town and county officials, Senator Gallivan and Senator Young’s offices to do what we can to oppose the Governor’s decision to close the facility.” stated Assemblyman Nojay.
The plant currently operates to treat brine that is filling in the AkzoNobel Salt mine that collapsed in 1994. The treatment of brine waste is part of their Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) that was signed by Livingston County, the DEC, and the Attorney Generals office in an agreement with AkzoNobel and the mine’s insurer Zurich. The plant currently has 30 full time employees.
In a letter obtained by the GeneseeSun.com from Edward McTiernan, Deputy Commissioner and General Counsel for the DEC states in portions published below:
Akzo will maintain the desalination plant in stand-by mode until February 15, 2014 or after 30 days written notice to the Department whichever is later. Akzo shall submit a plan to establish a stand-by protocol and promptly implement this plan to stabilize the plant until February 15, 2014 or after 30 days written notice to the Department whichever is later.
This conclusion was supported by both Akzo and the USGS (U.S. Geological Survey) at the public meeting on November 6,2013 in Geneseo. The Department has also reviewed and analyzed the available subsidence data collected since the mine collapsed. The Department does not presently dispute Akzo’s assertion concerning mine closure rates, the improbability of any future significant subsidence events, or the affect of mine closure on the rate of brine migration. Nevertheless, these projections are derived from various lines of indirect evidence. Long term data sufficient to confirm these conclusions has not yet been collected. So long as Akzo and the Department are engaged in on-going discussions concerning the appropriate response to the mine collapse, the decision not to seek a further extension of the CO should not disrupt these long term data collection efforts.
The New York State Department of Conservation reportedly permitted the AkzoNobel miners to change the required dimensions of the pillars which ultimately triggered the collapse.