Engineer notes illegal dumping on city street

JOHNSTOWN – City officials are concerned about illegal dumping that has been occurring at a dead end street.

City Engineer Chandra Cotter reported to the Common Council recently that her office may request some type of police surveillance at the end Bridge Street.

“We’ve had tires dumped there,” Cotter said. “It’s a dead-end street. It’s dark.”

She said the city might want to think about having more of a law enforcement presence in the Bridge Street area, where 10 discarded tires were recently found. Cotter also said she will get pricing for a chainlink fence to possibly cordon off an area at the end of the street that seems to be prone to illegal dumping.

Elsewhere in her Department of Public Works report to the council:

Cotter said she may get an update soon from state officials on how to deal with contamination at the former Karg Bros. tannery site on North Perry Street. She said she hopes to provide the council with a report at its next meeting May 20.

For several years, the city has been trying to develop a plan to completely clean up the former tannery site, which was shut down in the mid-1990s. The city has a state Brownfields grant and has been working with the state Department of Environmental Conservation and state Department of Health to assess contamination at the site before it can be remediated.

Cotter reported the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency will begin cleaning up the contaminated, former Demis Leather tannery on West Fulton Street on Monday.

“We’re going to let them do that,” she said.

Initial efforts to clean up the site are expected to last about three to four weeks. The site at 124-126 W. Fulton St. is still privately owned, but the EPA will conduct all cleanup activities while coordinating its work with the city.

Cotter told the council in March the EPA deemed the old tannery contaminated and feel it threatens public health. She said EPA also says the contaminants at the property pose a threat of fire or explosion.

Cotter also has been working on a new website for the city, and she told the council that may go “live” by June 3.