LOCKPORT – A gutted industrial building, left alone by a Texas businessman who intended to clear the site after a run-in with state officials, will be demolished by Thanksgiving.
Terry Kish, on-scene coordinator for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, said Thursday that 89 Mill St., across from the Flintkote plant, will be torn down after crews complete work on a temporary soil cap for homes on nearby Water Street.
The latter job is a preliminary to the federal buyout and demolition of five homes on Water Street, whose yards are periodically inundated by waters from Eighteen Mile Creek. The creek, a federal Superfund site, carries PCBs and other contaminants believed to emanate from the ruins of Flintkote, which burned 42 years ago.
As for 89 Mill St., Lockport Corporation Counsel John J. Ottaviano said Thursday it’s likely to end up in city hands as a vacant lot, after the EPA razes the structure, which the agency fenced a year ago.
There are likely to be two liens on the property. Kish said the EPA intends to send Liberty Plant Maintenance, the Texas-based owner of the site, the bill for the demolition and cleanup.
Also, City Judge Thomas M. DiMillo fined Liberty $40,000 June 17 for four building code violations. Those fines have not been paid, court officials said Thursday.
Ottaviano said he expects the EPA’s lien will come ahead of the city’s, but unless Liberty pays the bills, a likely outcome is for the EPA to allow the city to sell the property and apply the proceeds to the EPA’s costs.
As for the demolition, Kish said, “I don’t have a start date, but barring a major catastrophe, it should be down by Thanksgiving.”
The building at 89 Mill, a 16,000-square-foot onetime power plant for a long-gone paper mill, is not considered part of the Superfund site, Kish said.
It was bought in 2010 by Liberty owner Scott J. Krzyzanow-ski. He planned to remove the building and erect a small retail development on the site.
He had cleared the overgrown vegetation from the property when he was brought up short by the state Labor Department, which demanded in September 2010 that he perform an asbestos assessment on the building before tearing it down. Kyzyzanowski wouldn’t pay for it, and the project was halted.
He left behind a Dumpster, believed to contain asbestos, which is still there. Asbestos, a naturally occurring fire retardant, can cause cancer when its fibers are inhaled.
The EPA fenced the Dumpster off, but Kish said it’s no big deal.
“People seem fixated on the Dumpster,” Kish said. He said it contains building materials with small chunks of asbestos. There is more asbestos in the building itself, but last year the EPA sprayed it with an encapsulating chemical to keep it from being blown away in the wind.
The ruins of 89 Mill and the contents of the Dumpster will not be considered hazardous waste and can be trucked to any landfill that is allowed to take asbestos, Kish said.
“It’s really not a threat once it’s in the ground. It’s just a mineral,” Kish said.