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CDM completes work at Jones & Laughlin site

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St. Lawrence County consultant Camp, Dresser & McKee has completed work on a section of the former Jones & Laughlin Steel Co. site, a step leading to the future development of 18 acres zoned industrial in the Adirondack Park.

“It’s progress,” said Fine Supervisor Mark C. Hall, a member of the county Industrial Development Agency. “I’m thrilled to see movement in the right direction.”

Identifying the extent of the environmental contamination at the J&L property in the town of Clifton has been years in the making.

The state Department of Environmental Conservation provided money from the Environmental Restoration Program for a study of the entire 54-acre site so a record of decision could be made that would lead to reuse of the property without the county worrying about liability for the contamination.

However, that was delayed by inadequate work done by CDM, Cambridge, Mass., and a dispute over payment that resulted in a settlement in May under which CDM went back to work at the site.

The DEC already has issued a payment for $45,494 for the first bill CDM filed. A second billing for $53,498 also has been submitted to DEC, county Governmental Services Director Michael J. Cunningham said.

A disputed $400,000 already paid to the company by the county but not reimbursed by DEC because of questions over CDM invoices submitted during the first phase of its work will be resolved later. As part of the settlement, that money was placed in an escrow account by CDM and the disputed bills will be resubmitted to DEC. Any that are not reimbursed will be paid by CDM from the escrow account.

CDM has issued a draft report of its latest on-site work to DEC, which is reviewing it, Mr. Cunningham said.

“It looks like the DEC hasn’t had any major concerns yet. All parties have been very cooperative,” Mr. Cunningham said. “We’re looking forward to having a record of decision and having some land there we can use for development.”

The 18 acres were split off from the larger J&L site, which will be designated a Superfund site.

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