BALLSTON SPA -- The environmental cleanup at the vacant former Haight American Hide leather tannery site at 125 Bath St. is complete, the state Department of Environmental Conservation declared on Tuesday.
The announcement follows a cleanup completed in 2015 by previous owner Angelica Healthcare. The DEC and state Department of Health said the 6.35-acre site "does not pose a significant threat to public health or the environment."
The 80,000-square-foot brick structure was most recently the home of an Angelica Healthcare commercial laundry facility, which closed in 2010, but the site has an industrial history going back to the 19th century.
According to DEC, the cleanup work done by Angelica's contractors included excavation and off-site removal of 3,390 tons of petroleum-contaminated soil and its replacement with clean fill; demolition of six condemned industrial structures and an industrial smokestack west of the main building; and installation of a 2-foot layer of clean soil over the contaminated areas.
As long as a 2-foot soil cover is maintained over the contaminated areas and a site management plan is in place, the building can be released for "restricted residential, commercial or industrial uses," DEC recommended in November.
Once DEC issues a formal certificate of completion, the owner will have no further liability to the state for any contamination coming from the site, and will be eligible for state brownfield redevelopment tax credits to offset a portion of the costs for cleanup and redevelopment of the site.
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.
A post-cleanup investigation by the DEC 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, has not responded to requests for comment.