Montgomery County

Cleanup of old Amsterdam mill site finally near completion

Pioneer Street residents will soon have a more attractive view of the Chuctanunda Creek, as remediat

Pioneer Street residents will soon have a more attractive view of the Chuctanunda Creek, as remediation of the old Pioneer Mill site moves toward completion.

At its meeting tonight, the Amsterdam Town Board will vote to award the contract for the final stage of the project to J.H. Malloy Construction.

“It’s a brief formality,” said town Supervisor Tom DiMezza.

Since the mill was demolished back in the fall of 2008 and the land was found to be contaminated, cleanup progress has been slow. Now, however, DiMezza said it’s nearing completion.

“We’ll just be glad to have it done,” he said.

According to Larry Rogers, project manager for Delaware Engineering, who has been heading up the remediation, chemicals stored in the building — including some metals and coal byproducts — seeped into the ground over the mill’s many years of operation.

J.H. Malloy will move 2 feet of the contaminated soil into the hole that once formed the mill basement. The whole lot will then be covered in another 2 feet of fresh topsoil and seeded with grass.

“It’s very lightly contaminated,” Rogers said. “Otherwise, the [state Department of Environmental Conservation] would want more than a 2-foot soil cap.”

The work will turn the site from a mass of unsightly overgrowth surrounded by a chain link fence and “No trespassing” signs into a patch of fresh grass by the creek.

Demolition and cleanup of the mill site has cost upwards of $1 million and will take about $260,000 to finish. Rogers said 90 percent of the money will come from the state’s Environmental Restoration Program, with only a 10 percent match from the town.

“We couldn’t have paid for it ourselves,” DiMezza said, “that’s for sure.”

He and Rogers said the process was delayed by state funding hangups.

“We spent a year and a half looking for more state dollars,” Rogers said. “There’s not a lot of new money in those programs.”

He added that the state money kicking in now was reallocated from other state-funded environmental projects that are stalled.

While the date is not set in stone, he said the project should be done by the end of October.

The town will retain ownership of the land, and one day it might be turned into a walking path or park between Amsterdam and Hagaman.

“Right now, the town doesn’t have the money,” Rogers said, “but once this is done, it could be converted into a passive recreation site.”

The Harrower Pond dam, which was built back in the 1870s as part of the mill and has fallen into disrepair, is not part of the current project. “We’re just letting that go for now,” DiMezza said. “It’s not the town’s responsibility.”

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