Wetland Treatment System To Become Outdoor Environmental Laboratory

Craig Clark, Eric Larson, Joe Sontchi, Pat King, and John M. AndersonAlfred State College and Atlantic Richfield (a BP-affiliated company) officials gathered recently to announce the transfer of the wetland treatment system site to the Educational Foundation, Inc. ASC’s School of Applied Technology in Wellsville, which is owned by the Ed Foundation, sits on the site of the former Sinclair refinery. After a major blaze which closed the refinery in 1958, AR dismantled the refinery site, donated much of the property to Alfred State to build its Wellsville campus, and performed various cleanup activities. This most recent remedy involved construction of what is known as a wetland treatment system, which is designed to remove any residual contaminants from the groundwater that passes beneath the site and prevent contamination from migrating to the Genesee River. AR’s innovative wetland treatment system uses natural processes to finish the job of cleaning groundwater at the site. Although AR will retain responsibility for the environmental cleanup at the site, ASC will take ownership of the property, expanding its footprint and offering a unique educational opportunity for area students. The wetland treatment system will become an outdoor environmental laboratory for students. Area biology and environmental science students currently utilize the site. Future opportunities may include training students in water monitoring and testing. Alfred State students and faculty also have designed and will construct and operate a solar-powered telemetry system that will control water levels in the wetland.

The Educational Foundation of Alfred, Inc., is a private foundation representing faculty, staff, and friends of Alfred State College dedicated to improving the ASC community through the support of educational programs. The activities pursued by the Educational Foundation of Alfred, Inc., are governed by a board of directors made up of representatives from each of the following groups: alumni, College Council, faculty and staff, and friends of the college. The Foundation provides monetary support to enhance learning opportunities for students through scholarships, work grants, and community service projects. The Ed Foundation also funds the Building Trades programs’ hands-on home construction projects.

Additionally, the Foundation owns and maintains the School of Applied Technology campus in Wellsville. The 22-acre parcel consists of more than 20 buildings with some 800 students enrolled in 16 programs. The programs, which stress “learning by doing,” incorporate traditional classroom experience with comprehensive “on-the-job” laboratory experiences. Since 1996, the Foundation has invested over $2.3 million in improvements on the campus.

Pictured here during the ceremony, l-r: Craig Clark, dean, ASC School of Applied Technology; Eric Larson, operations project manager, BP; Joe Sontchi, operations manager, BP; Pat King, vice president, Global Operations, Remediation Management, BP; and Dr. John M. Anderson, president, Alfred State College.

View more pictures of this ceremony.