The Sparta Township planning board will investigate a 79.11-acre plot adjacent to the New York Susquehanna and Western Railway Main Line as an area in need of redevelopment.
The township council on March 9 authorized the investigation. Township engineer Stan Puszcz of CP Engineer said the plot was an active municipal landfill from 1967 to 1985. The landfill is about 80 percent closed, he said, and the township is looking to complete the closure.
Puszcz said the groundwater has been tested for a long time, and data shows the groundwater has not been contaminated.
“This is our asset, and we want to protect it,” Puszcz said.
He said the state Department of Environmental Conservation (DEP) recognizes that landfills qualify as brownfields. If the planning board recommends redevelopment, the township council will decide where to go from there, he said.
“The first step is to send it to the planning board,” said Mayor Christine Quinn. “The brownfield designation opens the township up to possible funding to be able to pay for part of this closure.”
Puszcz said the DEP found that the landfill encroached onto wetlands. Part of the township’s objective would be to address that encroachment, he said.
“It’s blocking our ability to move forward,” he said.
Based on current policies, the redevelopment area gives the township the best chance of moving forward as it closes the landfill and deals with its encroachment on wetlands.