Orange & Rockland Utilities say they have completed the first phase of cleanup at an old manufactured-gas plant site on Gedney Street in Nyack. According to O&R spokesman Mike Donovan, the land portion of the cleanup operation was finished last September. The utility will look for possible shoreline contaminations with a followup investigation this spring. O&R has spent $14 million on the cleanup so far.
The Gedney Street facility, which operated from 1852 until 1965, is one of over 1,500 manufactured-gas plants that burned coal or petroleum to light and heat the homes and businesses. The process created coal tar and other byproduct contaminants that can cause cancer. The plants became obsolete in the 50’s when natural gas pipelnes were constructed.
According to O&R, the Gedney Street facility made gas from coal and oil from 1852 until 1889. The plant used both coal and oil as feedstock for the carbureted water gas process from 1890 until 1938. It served as a oil gas facility providing “peak shaving” after 1938 used only during times of peak demand.