Official: EPA cleanup to start in May

JOHNSTOWN – The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency will begin cleaning up the contaminated former Demis Leather tannery on West Fulton Street starting in May, a city official said.

Second Ward Councilman Chris Foss gave a liaison report on the situation to the Common Council last week.

He reported initial work to clean up the site is expected to begin May 6 and will last about three to four weeks. Foss said the site at 124-126 W. Fulton St. is still privately owned, but the governments will coordinate and oversee the project.

“EPA will conduct all cleanup activities, but will coordinate work with the city,” City Engineer Chandra Cotter said today.

Cotter told the council earlier this month the EPA says the old tannery is contaminated and threatens public health. She said EPA also says the contaminants at the property pose a threat of fire or explosion.

In other city business:

  • Foss said the city is waiting on sampling results at the former Karg Bros. tannery off North Perry Street.
  • First Ward Councilwoman Cindy Lakata reported the city Fire Department in February had 48 calls for service, which included two structure fires. In the code enforcement part of her report, she said the Fire Department in February issued a dozen permits. The cost of potential improvements through such permitted projects was put at about $1.2 million.

“Complaint responses are being addressed as needed,” Lakata stated.

  • Lakata also reported the city Police Department had 751 calls in February. There were 36 arrests, 85 traffic tickets issued, 22 accidents and two K-9 responses last month.
  • Foss reported more than 50 baskets are now available to be raffled off at the Johnstown Public Library’s mini-golf fundraiser set for 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. April 20 at the library.
  • Foss said the library will host children’s events with the school spring break set for April 1-5. They include Library Night April 2 and crafts on April 4.
  • Foss reported public input for the library’s long-range planning survey concludes by week’s end.
  • Third Ward Councilwoman Helen Martin reported the Johnstown Senior Citizens Center is conducting yoga classes at 10 a.m. on Fridays. She said there are no floor exercises involved and the activity takes place in chairs.