LOCKPORT, N.Y. -- The Environmental Protection Agency began its demolition of an asbestos-contaminated building in Lockport on Wednesday.
The abandoned Liberty Plant Maintenance facility on Mill Street was discovered to have asbestos in 2012.
Because the abandoned is unstable, asbestos workers could not go inside, and it had to be demolished.
Two years ago, the EPA started the process by spraying chemicals that would prevent asbestos from going airborne.
Since then, the agency has negotiated with the property owner to move forward with taking the building down.
"There are certain areas of the building where we know the asbestos is, and any debris that gets co-mingled with that will certainly go out as asbestos-contaminated," said Terry Kish, EPA on-scene coordinator. "There are other areas of the building where we know there is very little asbestos, and some of that debris can be reused as back-fill that will be processed, ground up, and used to fill in the basement when the project is over."
The biggest concern remains the safety of neighbors on Chapel Street.
To protect them, Kish says air check locations placed around the building monitor dust levels in the air, and spraying water as pieces of the building come down helps keep that airborne dust to a minimum.
The Liberty plant opened in the 1920s and operated for about 40 years.
It used to generate steam and electricity for a former paper industry across the street