Corning Inc. may clean up former Fall Brook site

Jeffrey Smith

The grounds of the old Fall Brook Plant off Tioga Avenue may be contaminated with hazardous waste.

Corning Inc. officials are expected to finalize a voluntary agreement in February to clean up the 17-acre site under the state Brownfield Cleanup Program.

The plant, which manufactured glass, was demolished last year and was once thought to be a possible site for the relocation of Corning Hospital. However, it was ruled out because it is located in a flood plain.

The Brownfield program, established in 2003, offers tax credits and releases future liability to property owners who voluntarily clean up a contaminated site.

“To be eligible for the program, there only has to be the potential presence of a contaminant," said Kelli Hopp-Michlosky, a Corning Inc. spokesperson. “It was a manufacturing site for many years so there is a potential."

Hopp-Michlosky said testing will be completed on the parcel this spring. If contamination is discovered, a plan to clean up the site will be developed and completed.

Bart Putzig, a hazardous waste engineer for the state Department of Environmental Conservation, said the state DEC would oversee the clean up and inspect the remediation work once it is finished.

If the clean up project is cleared by the DEC, future development on the site could be eligible for tax credits and the owner of the land can not be held liable if further contamination is discovered.

“The credits ultimately may not benefit Corning Inc.," Putzig said. “Instead, they will likely aid anyone who wants to redevelop the land."

Property owners near the site have received letters from the DEC asking for comments on the parcel.

“We have yet to receive any feedback from the residents," Putzig said. “But we’re very early in the process."

City Manager Mark Ryckman said the land’s close proximity to the Gaffer District makes it an attractive spot for redevelopment.

“It’s encouraging to see Corning Inc. is working to prepare the site for some type of future use," Ryckman said. “In some communities business walk away from old industrial sites, thankfully Corning Inc. has always worked to redevelop sites in our community."