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Feds to Cleanup Former Sack Factory

Monday, September 26, 2016

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Asbestos from badly deteriorating structures in a small New York town have prompted federal action.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency reports it is working to stop the potential spread of asbestos at the former Arkell and Smiths Sack Co. facility in Canajoharie, NY.

asbestos
CDC

When disturbed by repair, remodeling or demolition, microscopic asbestos fibers become airborne and can be inhaled into the lungs, where they can cause lung cancer, mesothelioma and other serious health problems.

“At the request of the local government, the EPA sent staff and federal resources to stop the potential release of asbestos,” said Judith A. Enck, EPA Regional Administrator. “EPA will make sure that the buildings are taken down properly and that asbestos is not spread into the community.”

Houses are within 30 feet of the subject property, authorities said.

Mayor Request

The EPA was notified by the city’s mayor, Francis Avery, in November 2015 about hazardous conditions posed by the dilapidated and collapsing buildings at the complex.

Originally built in the 1860s the factory was once home to the manufacturer of the first flat-bottom paper sack. The property was sold in 2007 and fell into a state of disrepair.

The site is 2.6 acres and contains seven interconnected buildings covering 65,000 square feet.

Testing and Cleanup Plan

In February 2016, the EPA took building and debris samples and determined that the asbestos from deteriorating structures on the site has the potential to impact the surrounding area.

sack
Canajoharielibrary.org

Originally built in the 1860s the factory was once home to the manufacturer of the first flat-bottom paper sack.

Asbestos is a mineral fiber commonly used in a variety of building construction materials. When disturbed by repair, remodeling or demolition, microscopic asbestos fibers become airborne and can be inhaled into the lungs, where they can cause lung cancer, mesothelioma and other serious health problems.

The EPA says it plans to demolish the buildings and asbestos-containing materials will be either removed or secured at the site, and disposed of properly at permitted facilities. Further, the agency says materials containing asbestos will be kept adequately wet until they are collected and properly disposed of. The air will be monitored during operations to ensure that asbestos is not spreading.

The EPA is coordinating with the Canajoharie officials and local police to minimize disruptions during the work. Throughout the project, the community will be kept informed, EPA said.

While this site is not on the Superfund National Priorities List, the Superfund program operates on the principle that polluters should pay for the cleanups, rather than passing the costs to taxpayers. The EPA will seek to hold any liable parties accountable for the costs of the investigation and cleanup.

   

Tagged categories: Air quality; Asbestos; Building materials; Cleanup; Environmental Protection; Environmental Protection Agency (EPA); Health and safety; Maintenance + Renovation

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