LOCKPORT – A former dry-cleaning store, now an abandoned hazardous waste site, will be cleaned up this fall, the state Department of Environmental Conservation said Friday.
Peters Dry Cleaning, 316 Willow St., is rated as an inactive hazardous waste site posing a danger to human health.
The brick building partially collapsed Dec. 15, 2011, and most of the rubble remains in place.
Not for long, said Peter Constantakes, spokesman for the DEC. He said the results of an asbestos survey on the building are expected shortly, and then the wrecking ball will swing, and the site will be excavated.
Dry-cleaning chemicals, apparently spilled on the ground decades ago, are the reason for the site’s classification. Vapors have been determined to be present in some neighboring homes in the residential neighborhood.
The city obtained a court order June 27, allowing access to the property and barring owner Patrick S. McFall from interfering with the cleanup plan.
“Once it’s demolished, we can see what contamination is under there,” Constantakes said. “I think the goal is to have things completed by the end of fall. If all goes well, maybe October.”
Once the remediation is completed, the city expects to take over the vacant lot, Corporation Counsel John J. Ottaviano said.
McFall pleaded guilty to violating the city sanitary code by not cleaning up the site after the collapse. For months, he resisted an asbestos report demanded by the city and state.
He was placed on probation and ordered to pay the city $36,877 in costs, including back taxes and water bills.
In June 2012, McFall tried to “sell” the property for $1 to a man who said he was illiterate. He sued to invalidate the deal after finding out he might be stuck with the back taxes and cleanup costs. The “sale” was canceled March 1 by State Supreme Court Justice Richard C. Kloch Sr.