evilleBy Jann Wiswall

Cleanup of the old Signore metal manufacturing plant at 55-57 Jefferson Street is nearing completion, according to David Chiazza, executive vice president of Iskalo Development Company.

The site, which was designated a Superfund site by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) back in 1986 when the property was still owned by Signore, was found to be contaminated by low concentrations of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) both in the surrounding soil and groundwater. Both public and private drinking water wells were contaminated “due to spills, leakage and other plant operations,” as noted in the DEP’s Interim Remedial Measures (IRM) work plan.

Over the years, Signore undertook a number of state-directed studies and IRMs designed to protect the water supply by installing interceptor wells and connecting 34 residential properties to the municipal system.

When the property was being purchased by Iskalo Development Company in 2007-2008, additional environmental studies were done to assess ongoing issues, and further soil and groundwater contamination was detected. Iskalo applied to the State Brownfield Cleanup Program (BCP) for assistance; its application was accepted in January 2011.

Since then, Iskalo has followed BCP’s requirements for remediation. Over the summer, contaminated soil and several underground tanks were removed and replaced with clean fill. According to Chiazza, “soil and water monitoring will continue for several more months” until the DEC determines that the site is no longer contaminated and its paperwork is completed.

Iskalo is keeping development ideas for the site close to the vest. Chiazza says its focus has been on cleanup over the past year. While there have been many conversations with area business owners, “we’re a deliberate and conservative developer,” and want what works for the community.

“Over the course of the next year, we’ll start looking again at prospects,” he said.

A portion of the property currently is zoned for medium density residential development. The rest is zoned for industrial development.