Disposal Sites Cleanup

A comprehensive site cleanup is underway...

The former Radiation Disposal Site (RDS) and former Chemical Disposal Site (CDS), located just north of the Tompkins County Airport.
The former Radiation Disposal Site (RDS) and former Chemical
Disposal Site (CDS), located just north of the Tompkins County Airport.

In 1962 Cornell buried chemical lab waste and low-level radiation research materials from University facilities at two isolated sites north of the Tompkins County airport in the town of Lansing. These materials were disposed of in accordance with the regulations at that time and such disposal of the University’s research materials continued at the site until 1977. Since that time Cornell has worked with New York State and a variety of experts to assess any potential risks, inform the public, and take remedial action. Through engineering, the review of scientific studies and careful monitoring and management of these sites, the University has ensured that we are taking all appropriate measures to protect public health and safety.

A comprehensive cleanup of these sites is underway in a series of phases that follow the steps of the site remediation process approved by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (NYSDEC). Interim Remedial Measures (IRMs) have been developed and constructed to keep chemicals from leaving the area, ensure public safety, and ultimately remove volatile organic compound from the ground water in and around the site as well as prevent any further releases from the disposal area. Currently Cornell does extensive environmental monitoring of the site and surrounding area including regular testing of the ground water, sampling of invertebrates, and testing of treated water before discharge to a stream to ensure treatment is removing any potential contaminants. In addition annual reports that include these testing results are submitted to the NYSDEC.

Click here to learn more about the clean up effort