Updated: 10/07/2013 6:17 AM
Created: 10/06/2013 11:07 PM WHEC.com
By: Joangel Concepcion
Town officials in Livingston County are feeling "salty" over the potential shut down of a plant in Leicester.
AkzoNobel wants to shut down its $8-million dollar plant in Livingston County and pull up stakes for good.
At stake are 30 jobs and the potential that closing the plant could open the door for possible water contamination.
You may recall the company has been disposing of brine at the Lester Plant since a mine collapse in 1994. It keeps brine from leaking into an underground aquifer.
A spokesperson for the company tells News10NBC the plant serves "no further useful purpose."
But community leaders are saying something different.
News10NBC contacted AkzoNobel and they said they ran tests under a consent order with the Department of Environmental Conservation.
The company sent News10NBC some of the results. The results show that if pumping is stopped, brine exiting the mine will have no effect on any source of water used for drinking or irrigation now and in the future. Also, the results show the mine is not practical, cost-effective or sustainable.
Officials from the company also said there will be no immediate layoffs, but employees should expect to discuss separation terms in the future. The company also plans to eventually dismantle the plant and sell its equipment.
They are also planning to donate the building to the Town on Leicester, if they want to have it.
Officials in Livingston County say they have met with the attorney general and the Department of Environmental Conservation for a rundown about the closure. But the Town Supervisor of Leicester told News10NBC on Sunday that despite the meeting, she's afraid for residents. She says she's worried about the drinking water in the future, or if sinkholes could possibly form in the area because of the shut down.
She says despite what the company is telling the county and News10NBC, she hasn't seen any proof.
“We're totally in the dark. We know nothing. It's nerve-wrecking and we're trying so hard to educate ourselves. We have got no paper, no pieces of papers from them, no documents, nothing showing us what their tests have shown or what could possibly happen, so that's why I foiled them to see if I could get the information,” said Lisa Semmel, Leicester Town Supervisor.
“I know a lot of people in the area want to know if this is going to effect the water in the area down the line that you guys are going to try to stop,” said News10NBC's Joangel Concepcion.
“Oh yes. That's very important to us, preserving our land,” said Semmel.
Town Supervisor Semmel says she doesn't know if they can stop the shut down but they can try delay it until county officials feel comfortable.
She's hoping the company, along with the DEC and the attorney general hold a public forum about what the plans are so that everyone that lives in the area gets on the same page.
The company AkzoNobel will stop pumping when a settlement is reached with the state. They are planning to donate a substantial lump-sum amount to the state, so it could be used to fund public works projects in Livingston County. That decision could be on October 15, less than 10 days away.