Department of Environmental Conservation

D E C banner

For Release: Friday, July 20, 2018

DEC Holds Public Meeting On Cleanup Efforts at Former J & L Steel Company

The State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC), U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), St. Lawrence County, and the Development Authority of the North Country (DANC) today held a comprehensive presentation on cleanup efforts at the former Jones and Laughlin (J&L) Steel Company site in Star Lake, St. Lawrence County. The public meeting was held at Clifton-Fine Central School auditorium in Star Lake. Approximately 60 people took part in a site tour following stakeholder presentations.

Judy Drabicki, DEC Region 6 Director said, "Today is a celebration of the wonderful partnership and the progress that has been made over the years of cleaning up the J&L historical contamination above and below the ground. Only through collaborative efforts among all levels of government have we come this far. With the redoubled effort and commitment by dedicated DEC staff involved, and the significant efforts the town and county, I am more confident than ever we will eliminate the visible and invisible blight that has plagued this beautiful part of the state and Adirondacks for years."

Approximately 760 cubic yards of PCB-contaminated soil will be excavated and disposed of from six separate areas on the site. DEC approved the work plan to conduct the excavation in June. A contractor has been selected and the work will begin within the next several weeks. Field work is expected to last up to three weeks.

Ruth Doyle, St. Lawrence County Administrator said, "The level of effort maintained by the stakeholders to see this project through is a model of how well state and local organizations can work together to overcome challenges like the J&L Site. This dedicated group has worked creatively to fund and execute a cleanup that has been decades in the making. As landowner of the Site, St. Lawrence County dedicated resources as well as involved partner agencies such as the St. Lawrence County IDA and DANC to ensure the momentum continues. The County is grateful to everyone who has worked to move the cleanup efforts forward; particularly the US EPA for its involvement and the NYS DEC for taking on this project."

Carrie M. Tuttle, Director of Engineering for the Development Authority of the North Country said, "This project is an outstanding example of how multiple state, county and partner agencies can work together to achieve progress that seemed impossible a decade ago. The Development Authority was pleased to work with the St. Lawrence County Industrial Development Agency on an initial grant that spurred the demolition of many of the blighted buildings on the site. Recognizing the importance of this project to the county and to the towns of Clifton and Fine, the Authority continues to work with its partners to complete the clean-up of the site and prepare it for redevelopment."

Christopher Westbrook, President of the Clifton-Fine Economic Development Corporation said, "It is fantastic to see these tangible site clean-up results after years of grass root community collaboration with Local, County, State and Federal Agencies. This effort is resulting in a real and visible solution to an environmental and community development challenge that has existed in our community for over four decades. The importance of these efforts to the Clifton-Fine community is evident by the large number of interested people who attended the presentation and site tour."

Site History

To date, DEC has recovered 350,000 gallons of fuel oil released to the environment from the site. Removal of the released oil is ongoing. Since 2010, DEC, EPA, St. Lawrence County and DANC have been working together to remove asbestos and PCB contamination, and to demolish and remove blighted buildings. Areas of the site found clear of hazardous waste contamination have been transferred to St. Lawrence County for redevelopment. The ongoing cleanup effort is designed to facilitate future, productive use of the site.

  • Contact for this Page
  • Andrea C. Pedrick
    317 Washington Street
    Watertown, NY 13601
    email us
  • This Page Covers
  • Page applies to Region 6