by Duane Craig
Warren County in New York is questioning why the state hasn’t addressed cleaning up contaminated sites within its boundaries. Three sites include a former gas station, a landfill and a foundry, all abandoned by their former owners, and the county doesn’t want to foreclose for fear of being held accountable for the contamination lurking there.
Land Contamination in NY
The state is required by law to oversee cleanup of contaminated sites and nearby Albany County has approximately 1,500 contaminated places on its list. There had been a time when the state would split the costs of cleanup with the applicable counties on properties that had been abandoned. County officials say that isn’t happening lately and they are increasingly concerned about the liability associated with the cleanup of these sites.
One county reports having a relationship with a private party who buys the properties from the county, cleans them up and then resells them. The party claims to have been successful doing that with several properties. Of course getting the properties at rock bottom prices is probably a necessity. Counties are also looking at going after the former owners by finding them through tax records of other properties they may still own.
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