STAR LAKE — The Adirondack Park’s largest environmental organization has congratulated the towns of Fine and Clifton and St. Lawrence County officials for working with the state to clean up pollution and reclaim a long-idled industrial site inside the park.
“Town and county taxpayers were left in a financial bind when the owners stopped paying the taxes 20 years ago and left behind an environmental calamity for local residents," Adirondack Council Deputy Director Diane Fish said in a news release.
"We are thrilled to see the county and the state working together to help these towns, and this section of the Adirondack Park, to recover.
“We are also aware of how long it can take to make real progress, given the remediation and liability issues involved,” Fish said.
“We commend Town Supervisor Mark Hall, County officials and DEC Commissioner Joe Martens for their patience and perseverance.”
The J&L site is one of only a handful of seriously contaminated industrial sites in the entire 9,300-square-mile Adirondack Park.
In 2013, the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation signed a consent order and administrative settlement that will allow redevelopment and productive use of a 18-acre parcel on the property, located in the Adirondack Park’s northwest corner.
According to state records, the abandoned property was the site of a former 54-acre iron-ore processing facility that was active during World War II.
It was later transferred to Jones & Laughlin Steel Co., which operated the plant from 1946 until 1977. The site was then abandoned.
The entire J&L property is classified as an inactive hazardous waste disposal site, with contamination from mercury, lead paint, polychlorinated biphenyls, asbestos and solvents, according to DEC’s website.
In addition, an oil spill estimated to be up to 1 million gallons was reported in 1987.