MOOERS — Asbestos detected in the debris of a building here halted cleanup in its tracks and prompted closure of Mooers Elementary School.
There will be no classes there on Monday — and not until after the school and grounds are tested and found clear of contamination, Northeastern Clinton Central School Interim Superintendent Paul A. Scott said.
‘AS IF ASBESTOS’
The Elementary School is located about a block from the debris of the former E.F. Drown Funeral Home on the corner of Route 11 and Maple Street, which collapsed on Jan. 11.
Property owner Eloi Duguay, who lives in Quebec, let a 60-day deadline go by without hauling away the rubble, said Mooers Code Enforcement Officer Jess Dixon, who is also public-safety officer.
Meanwhile, Town Supervisor Jeff Menard was looking into the protocol for removal of debris with possible asbestos. He was told to contact the State Department of Labor.
That agency, he said, told him that since the structure had already been razed the rubble should be treated as if the contaminant were there.
But they got no further guidance, the town supervisor said.
So he tapped Bedard’s Excavation for the job, as it has, he said, some kind of asbestos-removal certification.
“He said they would watch for asbestos as they were clearing (the debris).”
‘TURNED US IN’
Work began on Monday, April 7, and resumed the next day, with about 80 tons of debris hauled away.
But then the Department of Labor showed up, ordered the effort halted and checked for asbestos.
“Apparently, somebody got jealous because they didn’t get the (cleanup) contract and turned us in,” Menard said.
Dixon said the state representative who came to Mooers that day didn’t outline what steps needed to be taken next.
“They took their samples and headed back to Albany,” he said. “It was irritating.”