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DEC clears former Ballston Spa mill for reuse

DEC clears former Ballston Spa mill for reuse

Site likely contaminated during earlier leather tannery use
DEC clears former Ballston Spa mill for reuse
The former Haight/America Hide building at 125 Bath St. in Ballston Spa is pictured Friday.
Photographer: Erica Miller

BALLSTON SPA -- A former leather tannery on Bath Street has been tentatively cleared for re-use following an  environmental cleanup, the state Department of Environmental Conservation has announced.

Following a brownfield cleanup of the former Haight/America Hide building at 125 Bath St. in 2015 and further investigation in the last year, DEC and the state Department of Health have determined the 6.35-acre site "does not pose a significant threat to public health or the environment," according to a draft finding released for public comment late Thursday.

The 80,000-square-foot brick structure, which is currently vacant, was most recently the home of an Angelica Healthcare commercial laundry facility, which closed in 2010. Angelica conducted the earlier site cleanup under the state's brownfields redevelopment program. It included soil removal, demolition of some deteriorating buildings at the rear of the property and removal of a large industrial smoke stack.

As long as a 2-foot soil cover is maintained over contaminated areas and a site management plan is in place, the building can be released for "restricted residential, commercial or industrial uses," DEC is recommending. Most of the site already has a soil cover, it noted.

DEC will be taking public comment on the draft findings through Dec. 29, after which it will be review the findings again and finalize them, state officials said.

The site cleanup was required after a viscous petroleum-like material was found leaching from a parking lot behind the main building after a prolonged rain in 2010, according to state files. It was found in an area where there was once a large above-ground oil storage tank.

The post-cleanup investigation included taking numerous soil samples that found some contamination remaining from metals and semi-volatile organic compounds, but DEC believes those contaminants pose no general threat, as long as they remain covered.

The Angelica site has a long industrial history. There were tanneries there starting in the late 19th century.
The property was the site of a tannery called Haight's Tannery starting in about 1887, and it then became American Hide and Leather, at one time among the largest leather tanneries in the United States.

The current brick building was built for tannery use between 1945 and 1950, replacing most of the older tannery buildings, according to information filed with the DEC. Angelica acquired the property in the 1970s, and owned it until last year.

The site is currently owned by JJB 125 Bath LLC, which purchased it from Angelica in September 2018. The company's principal, James J. Beaudoin of Malta, was not available for comment on Friday.

People who want to comment on the proposal may due so by writing to DEC project manager Michael McLean at [email protected], or, on health-related issues, to Eamonn O'Neil at the state Health Department, at [email protected]

Reach Gazette reporter Stephen Williams at 518-395-3086, [email protected] or @gazettesteve on Twitter.

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