Saratoga County responds to Ballston Spa contamination

BALLSTON SPA, N.Y. (NEWS10) — As more questions arise about the chemical contamination coming from an abandoned dry cleaning shop in Ballston Spa, it turns out the village wasn’t notified about the concerns until months after an investigation had already begun.

The EPA says Saratoga County called them to investigate the Ricketts property this past summer, but the mayor of Ballston Spa wasn’t alerted until the end of December.

“That was the first that I was aware that there had been any testing done,” Mayor John Romano said.

When Mayor Romano learned there was chemical contamination at the abandoned Ricketts Dry Cleaning site at the end of December, neighbors say he showed up at their doors to let them know.

“I honestly thought it was very important that I reach out to my residents and be the first person to break this news to them,” Mayor Romano said.

The EPA says their investigation began back in August when Saratoga County called them with concerns.

“It would always be nice to know in advance to know what was going on,” Mayor Romano said.

Saratoga County Attorney Stephen Dorsey says one of their own reps visited the site last summer.

“Saw asbestos everywhere and some mercury switches and some other things that caused him to be concerned,” Dorsey said.

Which begs the question: “Is there a reason why the village wasn’t informed until December [or] why the village wasn’t informed back in August when testing began?”

“I’m not sure, I don’t know what the mayor did or did not know, and when he knew it, again that’s up to the EPA,” Dorsey said. “They’re coming into his village, I would have thought they would have told him that they were doing so but again, I don’t know.”

Wednesday, as vapor testing continues in 60 homes throughout the community, the county and the village seem to be on the same page: A remediation of Ricketts needs to happen.

“Ultimately, we would like the site cleaned up so we can foreclose on it, sell it, get it redeveloped by another business that will make a nice entrance to the Village of Ballston Spa,” Dorsey said.

NEWS10 ABC’s Noel McLaren reached out to the EPA to get their take on things and they said:

We certainly agree that it’s important to coordinate closely with our state, county, and local partners and [we] will strive to continue to improve that communication as we continue with our important work.”

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