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Community Advisory Group (CAG)

A Group of Citizens Concerned About City Sites Considered for Toxins Remediation


The Community Advisory Group (CAG) concerned with Ithaca’s contaminated sites has been convened to promote greater public participation in cleanup projects and to help citizens and the involved government agencies make better-informed decisions. It is important to note that a CAG does not serve as a decision-making body. It is not a voting entity and does not set policy or make decisions regarding project design and implementation. Instead, a CAG is intended to provide a forum through which a broad and diverse sample of community needs and interests are represented.  Agency staff cutbacks and municipal budget pressures make it essential that we maximize the value of our contacts with the state agencies and with our local officials.

The primary goal of our CAG is to facilitate two-way communication between the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, New York State Department of Health, and the City of Ithaca and individuals, groups, and organizations concerned with the contaminated sites in our City.

The CAG will work to:

  • Promote broad, balanced representation of communities and stakeholders among the City’s contaminated sites;

  • Encourage more routine and consistent communications and coordination between DEC and the community;

  • Solicit ongoing recommendations about ways to enhance community involvement;

  • Provide an avenue for the community to voice its needs and concerns; and

  • Provide for a consistent source of feedback for DEC to gauge interests and needs.

  • CAG meetings will also allow members to provide comments on project-related issues such as:

    • Development and implementation of work plans (e.g., remedial investigation work plan)

    • Community health and safety plans;

    • Quality of life issues (e.g., noise, odor, lights);

    • Community impacts;

    • Community resources;

    • Project education; and

    • Evaluation of community outreach and involvement

We hope that the agencies will designate staff members to serve as primary contacts for each of the affected sites, and we will designate primary contacts for the CAG.  We will use mailing lists, web sites, and local contacts to help get word from the agencies out to the affected communities.  We will try to consolidate and organize questions and concerns brought to us by community members for delivery to the relevant agencies.  While “in person” Public Meetings are required by regulations, we hope to make the best use of everyone’s time and efforts between these meetings, with e-mail, conference calls, and other available communications.


Most meetings will be held on the first Monday of each month, at 6 PM in the 2nd Floor Conference Room at Ithaca City Hall, 108 E. Green Street. All interested community members are welcome to attend. The most recent meeting was on Monday, November 7 A major topic was the proposals for reuse of the Emerson site. The next CAG meeting will be on December 5, wuth a report from the DesignConnect project team on their efforts to map South Hill toxins.

At our meetings over the past year, we have been helping inform neighbors of upcoming public meetings and projects which may affect them, such as the Coal Tar cleanup work near GIAC and near the Farmers' Market, and the progress of remediation efforts at three dry-cleaning sites downtown. We also have been working on ways in which we can help spread the word about way to reduce toxins in your everyday life. We have discussed ways we might be able to assess links between the toxic compounds around us and higher cancer incidence. A reference paper we circulated is from the June 2006 "Report to the Citizens of South Hill" presented by the students in Cornell's Spring 2006 BEE/EAS 471 Class.

Minutes of previous meetings are here: 09/20/2010   10/04/2010   11/01/2010   12/06/2010
  01/03/2011  02/07/2011  03/07/2011  04/04/2011 05/02/2011  06/06/2011  07/11/2011  08/01/2011  09/12/2011  10/03/2011  11/07/2011


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