Work resumes on demolition of former Alert Facility at airport


Dec. 09--PLATTSBURGH -- Work has resumed on demolition of the former Alert Facility at Plattsburgh International Airport, with the job expected to be complete by year's end.

The demolition process was stopped this past summer after workers discovered contaminants in the structure that they had not been aware of.

Mastic, a form of asbestos-type glue, and PCBs were found when crews started removing the structure.

Clinton County Deputy Administrator Rodney Brown said the mastic was stuck onto concrete blocks. Workers originally tried to chip it away, but that made the substance airborne, which is dangerous.

The county sought and received approval from the State Department of Environmental Conservation to dump the mastic-laced concrete in the former Plattsburgh Air Force Base landfill site.

"The mastic is stuck on the concrete, so it won't become airborne, and it will be covered with topsoil," Brown said.

The PCBs were discovered when crews removed the tunnels that led from the facility to the flight line.

The demolition company had to find a landfill that would take PCB materials, and the closest one was in Buffalo, but that site was closed as it awaited the opening of a new cell.

The new cell opened Dec. 1, and the PCB material can now be trucked there.

"They are back to work now, and we are told it should all be down by the end of the year," Brown said.

The change orders in the project caused the price of the demolition to jump from an original estimate of about $500,000 to around $1.6 million.

The project is being paid for by federal and state funds, with the county matching about $100,000.

The Alert Facility was used by the Air Force to house bomber and tanker crews near the flight line, where they could rush to their aircraft in a moment's notice in case of an emergency during the Cold War.

The property is being eyed as a potential site for commercial development, which would enhance the airport and generate tax revenue for the county.

"We would love to get a hotel and restaurant in there," Brown said.

"The FAA (Federal Aviation Administration) would have to approve it, but I think we could make a good case."

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