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EPA Completes Cleanup in Johnstown, New York

Release Date: 12/30/2005
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(#05155) NEW YORK -- Taking quick action to address a potential threat, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), under the Superfund Program, removed abandoned leather tanning chemicals from the Crown Leather Finishing site in Johnstown, New York. The agency worked with the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation and the local Fire Department to dispose of over 500 chemical containers, ranging in size from one gallon to 55 gallons.

"We were able to quickly remove the leather tanning wastes from the site, eliminating a potential threat to the community," said EPA Regional Administrator Alan J. Steinberg. "This is a good example of EPA working with the state and local authorities to successfully address a hazardous situation."

The Crown Leather Finishing site is located in a residential area of Johnstown and consists of a sprawling complex of wood and concrete block buildings. A series of leather tanning companies operated at the site, with the most recent being Alliance Leather. The facility closed in 1999 and, after bankruptcy proceedings, the city foreclosed on the property.

After being asked by the city of Johnstown for assistance, EPA performed an inspection and found hundreds of chemical containers under a partially collapsed and leaking roof. The agency also found tanks, vats and floor drains containing material, as well as signs of spilled chemicals on the walls and floors. Since the site was easily accessible by the public, EPA immediately responded by stabilizing the containers and retaining a security guard service. EPA has now disposed of all of the wastes that were considered to be a potential threat. These wastes included 8,000 gallons of chromium-contaminated sludge, over 50 cubic yards of chromium-contaminated solids, and 14 cubic yards of asbestos-containing pipe insulation.

For more information about the Superfund Program, please visit the EPA Web site at