LOCKPORT - The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency installed fences around a ruined building and a Dumpster on Mill Street last week, a first step toward testing and eventual cleanup of the site.
The agency obtained legal access to the property and erected chain-link fences around the building and the Dumpster, EPA spokesman Michael Basile said. The fences are posted with signs warning of asbestos.
The state Labor Department shut down the owner's effort to demolish the building and clean up the site in 2010, as the department demanded an asbestos survey.
The owner, Liberty Plant Maintenance of Dayton, Texas, is a company controlled by Dunkirk native Scott J. Krzyzanowski, who now lives in Texas.
The firm has been convicted in Lockport City Court of violating city building codes by leaving the Dumpster unattended since the fall of 2010. However, with the EPA moving into the situation, sentencing has been postponed until at least Oct. 4.
The 16,000-square-foot building was a power plant for a long-defunct paper mill. The building is almost roofless and is missing much of the exterior walls.
The EPA team sprayed "erosion control products" on the ground last week to prevent any spread of asbestos through runoff, Basile said.
There are clear signs of asbestos in the building, and there is believed to be some in the Dumpster. Liberty Plant's attorney, James P. Milbrand of Buffalo, has said someone in the neighborhood has placed asbestos-bearing floor tiles from another location in the Dumpster.
Basile said the EPA will get things moving this week with a check of the building's structural integrity Tuesday and Wednesday. Debris will then be tested to determine whether surfaces need to be decontaminated before cleanup.
The cost of the effort is to be billed to Liberty Plant, Milbrand said at his last City Court appearance Aug. 9.