Asbestos Study Will Be Conducted at Former Beech Nut Plant
Officials in Montgomery County, New York have hired a Long Island firm to conduct a survey of the remaining asbestos at the former site of the century-old Beech Nut baby food plant, which is located in the town of Canajoharie.
The engineering firm will study the remaining asbestos pollution at the plant and then recommend how much of the buildings there – if any – can be saved from demolition and slated for possible re-use.
According to an article in the Albany Times Union, the county paid about a half-million dollars to the LiRo Group to examine the 29-acre site, which is already partially demolished.
The site, notes the newspaper, has been a polluted eyesore for several years, especially after a potential developer stripped the property of all valuable metals, partially demolished some of the buildings on site, and then left behind huge piles of asbestos-tainted debris.
Locals say the old Beech Nut property fiasco has affected their property values but, most of all, they’re worried about the health ramifications of having piles of toxic asbestos in the middle of their town.
The old plant largely dominates the landscape and what’s left behind isn’t pretty…or safe.
Throughout the country, scenes such as this are commonplace. An old factory closes and leaves behind a toxic mess. Some are bad enough to become EPA Superfund Sites, but others are left for the towns, cities, or counties to address.
Clean-up is expensive and often takes years to accomplish, especially when funds are scarce.
The village of Canajoharie is depending on grants from the state to do the study and complete any subsequent demolition or remediation work.
In the meantime, local residents of this and other such towns become worried about how the exposed asbestos is affecting their health and that of their family members.
People are encouraged to stay away from the property so as to avoid exposure, but local teens and others can sometimes be found trespassing on the property, which is downright dangerous for them.
Others worry about the winds rustling through the piles of debris, scattering asbestos fibers throughout the neighborhoods surrounding the old plant.
Even a small amount of exposure to asbestos can cause diseases like mesothelioma to develop, though it’s likely the residents of Canajorharie won’t know for decades whether or not the asbestos left behind at the old factory will compromise their health.
Mesothelioma and other similar diseases usually take 30 or more years to develop, so proof of exposure and inhalation might not occur until long after the Beech Nut property has been demolished or improved.