Beech-Nut clean up set to start

FONDA — Montgomery County Legislators held a special meeting Tuesday night passing the resolution authorizing the Montgomery County Executive to enter into an administrative settlement agreement and order on consent for a removal action with the Environmental Protection Agency to start the clean up of the former Beech-Nut site.

County Executive Matthew Ossenfort announced Tuesday that the physical progress will begin at the Exit 29 Redevelopment Site in Canajoharie.

“We had to get this agreement to have everything resolved with EPA. Having this agreement allows us to do the work,” Ossenfort said.

According to the resolution, EPA completed a Removal Site Evaluation at 68 Church St. in the village of Canajoharie and identified hazardous material at the site. EPA also made a Memorandum of Agreement with Montgomery County for 50 percent of the future sale price of 68 Church St.

The Industrial Development Agency has secured funds to remove hazardous materials from the site and agreed to move materials from the site for the county.

According to the resolution, EPA agreed to issue credit toward the 50 percent owed under the terms of the Memorandum of Agreement which requires an amendment to the Memorandum of Agreement to be negotiated in the future.

According to a press release the agreement with EPA will allow Montgomery County to remove up to 2,532.3 tons of material that consists of debris pile, the roll-off container and certain partial exterior walls.

It also includes a certification that no residual asbestos remains where the material had been located at the Exit 29 site.

“There is so much work that has gone into getting physical progress at the site that I couldn’t be happier, Ossenfort said. “This is certainly one of the projects I’m passionate about.”

According to the press release, the county will get credit for all the dollars spent from money owed to the EPA if the property is sold.

Funding this project are grants secured from the IDA who will oversee the clean-up process and a $300,000 grant from National Grid Brownfield Redevelopment Program. That will be used for demolition of buildings on the eastern side of site which is adjacent to Exit 29 in Canajoharie.

“It’s taken so much work to get here and for most people the behind-the-scenes work you don’t really notice, but it was a lot. Now for people to see physical change at the site, I’m very excited to see people’s reactions and hopefully people start to have a little bit more hope that things are going to change,” Ossenfort said.

By Patricia Older

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