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K’hook remains wary of water from toxic dump


KINDERHOOK–The Town Board has finally adopted an updated Comprehensive Plan after several months of back and forth with the revision committee.

The new version removes a section suggesting Town Board members receive training in their duties and the modified language asking to limit curb cuts.

The board then passed the amended Comprehensive Plan after going over a short form State Environmental Quality Review, commonly known as SEQR. The full plan, which is intended to guide future development in Kinderhook, is available at the town’s website,

At the February 10 meeting the board also heard from a residents concerned about water released into the Valatie Kill from the treatment plant at the Dewey Loeffel Superfund toxic waste site in the neighboring Town of Nassau. The federal Environmental Protection Agency has been testing water treated by the plant and has already approved the release of about 60,000 gallons that showed no detectable amount of dangerous chemicals or that harmful substances were well below the safety levels set by the government.

Ed Simonsen, a town resident and chair of the Columbia County Environmental Management Council, said that he has been in contact with the EPA, and that his council created a list of questions for the agency to answer. The council is asking general questions about the extraction wells at the site and the difference between “leachate collection” (which is defined as hazardous chemicals that have seeped from the site) and “groundwater extraction.” The council also wants to know what happens to the chemicals when they are removed from the ground water. Mr. Simonsen said the 11 questions his council came up with were sent to the EPA that morning.

Another town resident asked whether the Kinderhook Town Board planned to put up signs at Kinderhook Lake, which the Valatie Kills feeds and flows out of, warning people about swimming in water and eating the fish. There is information about the on the state Department of Environmental Conservation website warning people about the safety risks associated with eating fish from the lake.

Town Supervisor Pat Grattan said that he had talked to the county Department of Health about getting involved in the situation. In January the board passed a motion, along with the County Board of Supervisors and the Town of Chatham, calling for the EPA to do a health study before the water was released into the Valatie Kill, but representatives from the EPA said last week in phone press conference that a health study would have be done by the a department of health, not the EPA.

Another issue raised at the meeting involved changing the zoning law in part of Niverville. A resident came to the meeting last month, saying he was hoping to use a building he owns, the former Niverville Firehouse on Route 9, as office space but it was not zoned for that. Town Attorney Andrew Howard said that he could draft a motion to change the zoning for the next meeting but that there would have to be public hearing on the change.

Mr. Simonsen, speaking during public comment section of the February meeting, said that he didn’t think the owner of the building should have come to the Town Board for the request. “This is why we have a Zoning Board of Appeals,” he said.

Former Planning Board Chair Bob Cramer, who was at the meeting, said that he remembers the use of that building being a controversial topic several years ago. “There are major issues with that piece of property,” he told the board.

The board also approved new requests to use rooms in the Martin H. Glynn Municipal Building, a former school that houses the town and Village of Valatie offices and Town Court. One group that will be meeting there is the Tri-Village Seniors. The group was meeting at a building the town owns at Volunteer Park, but Mr. Grattan said that after the boiler stopped working and the pipes froze, the building was closed. Other groups, like the Northern Columbia Little League, have had to move equipment out of the building and into the Glynn Building. Mr. Grattan said the board is waiting for estimates on the repairs, and officials do not know what they will do with the building until they know how much it will cost.

The next Town Board meeting will be Monday, March 10 at 7 p.m.

To contact reporter Emilia Teasdale email




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