The Union Fork and Hoe site near Utica, New York in the Village of Frankfort has become a hazardous eyesore, say locals, so they are pleased to see that work has begun at the location, which is slated for demolition by late July.
According to an article in the Utica Observer-Dispatch, the site has been designated by the Region 6 New York Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) as a Class 2 Site on the list of inactive waste sites. The designation means that the former manufacturing facility is “a significant threat to public health or the environment” and that action is required to eliminate that threat.
In the case of Union Fork and Hoe, asbestos abatement will take several weeks, notes Stephen Litwhiler, Region 6 DEC citizen participation specialist. “Once the buildings are down and removed there will be a full scale investigation of the extent of contamination and how the site will be cleaned up,” he added, noting that asbestos air monitoring would be in full swing during the entire process.
The buildings will be “stripped of all material besides wood, brick, block, steel and concrete,” Litwhiler added, and all construction debris will be disposed of off-site so that there is no danger to the public during the demolition and clean-up process. Clean-up activities are being funded through New York’s Superfund program.
The article points out that several environmental investigations have been conducted at the Union Fork and Hoe site over the past 25 years. It was well known that the location of the former hand tool manufacturing company was significantly contaminated with asbestos as well as a number of Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) including metals and Polychlorinated Biphenyls.
Besides making garden and other hand tools, Union Fork and Hoe also manufactured bayonets for use during World War II. Individuals who worked at the company during those years and in the years that followed may have suffered asbestos exposure due to the large amounts of the material on the property. These workers may be candidates for developing lung-related diseases such as mesothelioma, a cancer for which the only known cause is exposure to asbestos.