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Possible plant closure stirs worries in Livingston County

Leicester, N.Y. A company thats keeping salt from possibly ruining an aquifer in Livingston County says it wants to quit town.

Aksonobel is the company responsible for a salt mine collapse in Livingston County in the 1990s.

Ever since, Aksonobel has been responsible for keeping that salt from seeping into a nearby aquifer.

To do that, it built a treatment plant in Leicester.

According to Leicester Supervisor Lisa Semmel, AkzoNobel is telling state officials the threat of contamination without the plant is too low to justify the high cost.

In other words, it wants out.

Wheres the salt going to go? Theres aquifers, drinking water It might not be the next 5 or 10 years, but who knows 20, 30 years from now whats going to happen, Semmel said.

Semmel says shes hearing rumors the plant will shut down in the coming weeks, but adds the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation and the Attorney General are not confirming that nor are they providing much information in general.

Despite being left in the dark, the board of supervisors would have to sign off on any plan to let AkzoNobel walk, according to Semmel.

As for the possibility of contamination, Semmel says there are two competing studies: one says it is likely salt will make its way to an aquifer, while the other says theres little risk.

Allen Galbraith farms land near Leicester.

Right now, hes leaning towards that second study.

(The salt) hasnt (affected the water) in our lifetime and I dont think it will in anybody elses, Galbraith said.

The DEC, the Attorney General and AkzoNobel did not return requests for comment Thursday.

Adam Chodak, 13WHAM-TV
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