BALLSTON SPA — Homeowners near the abandoned Rickett’s dry-cleaning business on Route 50 can rest a little easier knowing that federal test results showed no serious contamination of their properties.
Closer to Village Hall, according to officials, a second industrial site on Bath Street that has been vacant for years is now wrapped up in a bankruptcy court proceeding.
At the May 8 Village Board meeting, Ballston Spa Mayor John Romano reported that the federal Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released results of “vapor intrusion” tests that were initiated in February at 50 homes near the Rickett’s building on Doubleday Avenue.
Officials at the EPA were studying whether various chemicals that reportedly leached into local ground water from the Rickett’s property were also venting through cracks in the foundations of homes.
“Based on EPA’s assessment... no corrective actions for vapor intrusion are required at any of the properties sampled,” reads a statement provided this week by EPA spokeswoman Larisa Romanowski.
“The concentrations of chemicals detected at the sample properties,” the statement continues, “were significantly below EPA’s established target levels which were developed to be protective of human health.”
The EPA further stated that the agency “does not see a need for any restrictions to be placed on the normal use of any of the properties sampled; does not plan on expanding the vapor intrusion investigation area at the present time; but does not rule out the possibility that additional vapor intrusion sampling may be conducted in the future.”
Mayor Romano explained that a $2,500 expenditure approved on May 8 by the village board would cover engineering costs for additional “PFOA” testing that took place at the Rickett’s site, as well as the cost of a water-quality report that will be mailed to village residents soon.
In other business, Trustee Noah Shaw indicated that he is following the Chapter 11 bankruptcy case involving a large property down the hill from Village Hall. The six-acre site, used for a number of years by the hospital linen company Angelica, spans several village blocks.
Romano said his own efforts to achieve progress on both the Rickett’s and Angelica properties, including letters to New York’s federal lawmakers, are “moving forward.”
Linda Shaw, an environmental attorney in Rochester who represented Angelica until last year, suggested that officials in Ballston Spa should pursue full ownership.
She said Angelica, as the property owner, had successfully remediated previous chemical and petroleum contamination at the site. The pollution was mostly the result of tannery operations that had occurred decades ago.
When reached this week for comment, Shaw said, “the property is really not that terrible.”
Shaw added that village officials “should think about taking title to it through the bankruptcy.”