NEW YORK, NY – The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and Montgomery County have entered into a voluntary agreement today to address asbestos contamination at the former Beech-Nut Nutrition Corp. plant in the Village of Canajohari New York.
EPA began its assessment of the site in 2015. EPA’s assessment found extensive asbestos contamination, including in numerous outdoor debris piles left behind after prior demolition efforts. EPA took several actions to stabilize the site, including using a special spray to keep the asbestos intact and avoid exposure to the community. The agreement between EPA and Montgomery County was reached after Beech-Nut Nutrition Corp. and B & B Recycling, LLC refused to comply with an EPA Superfund order that required asbestos removal work that the county has now agreed to undertake.
Under the agreement, Montgomery County will remove over 2500 tons of material consisting of the debris piles, a roll-off container, and certain partial exterior walls, as well as certify that no residual asbestos remains in these areas after removal. The county will use grant funding to address the asbestos contamination that EPA determined needed to be properly removed and disposed.
“I commend County Executive Matthew Ossenfort and the Montgomery County Legislators for their leadership and commitment to protecting the community and public health. This agreement is a great example of what can be accomplished when federal, state and local governments work together,” said Pete Lopez, EPA Regional Administrator. “Even though the county is not legally responsible for cleaning up this site, we are so pleased that we found a willing partner to be part of the solution. This unique approach reinforces EPA’s nationwide efforts to reform and streamline the Superfund process to make it work better for communities.”
EPA and Montgomery County will coordinate with New York State during the cleanup. EPA is evaluating its enforcement options related to Beech-Nut Nutrition Corp. and B & B Recycling, LLC.
The Superfund program is a cornerstone of the work that the EPA performs for citizens and communities across the country. On July 25, 2017 Administrator Pruitt accepted recommendations from the task force established on May 22, 2017 to revitalize the Superfund program. “My goal as Administrator is to restore the Superfund program to its rightful place at the center of the agency’s core mission.”
The task force’s recommendations focused on five overarching goals: expediting cleanup and remediation, reinvigorating cleanup and reuse efforts by potentially responsible parties, encouraging private investment to facilitate cleanup and reuse, promoting redevelopment and community revitalization and engaging with partners and stakeholders. Work to prioritize and reinvigorate the program by the task force has been initiated and will be ongoing into the future.