After nearly four decades under federal ownership, the property of LM’s Colonie, New York, Site is back in private hands, as of Jan. 5, 2023.

“This represents a huge milestone for the site,” said Site Manager Shawn Eichelberger. “Getting our sites back into beneficial reuse is always one of LM’s primary goals.”

Before being owned by the federal government, the site on Central Avenue belonged to National Lead Industries (NL). Beginning in 1937, NL operated a foundry at the site, and in 1958 they began producing items manufactured from uranium and thorium for the U.S. Atomic Energy Commission (AEC). After the AEC contract was terminated in 1968, the plant fabricated shielding components, aircraft counterweights, and artillery projectiles from depleted uranium.

Colonie Former NL Industries Plant

The former NL Industries plant in 1983.

In 1984, the New York State Supreme Court shut down the NL plant due to airborne uranium releases.  Subsequently, the U.S. Congress assigned responsibility for cleanup to DOE, and the federal government acquired the property.  

Under the Formerly Utilized Sites Remedial Action Program (FUSRAP), DOE investigated soil and groundwater, removed onsite buildings, and cleaned up most of the properties in the vicinity.

NL Industries Remediation

The former NL Industries plant during the remediation process.

When Congress transferred FUSRAP cleanup actions to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) in 1997, USACE began remediation of the site. The work included the excavation and disposal of 135,000 cubic yards of soil. After the site was suitable for commercial and restricted residential use, USACE transferred the site to LM for long-term stewardship on Sept. 30, 2019.

“Once the site became our responsibility, we immediately began exploring how to make it available for redevelopment to benefit the community,” said LM FUSRAP Program Manager Darina Castillo.

Colonie After Remediation

The former NL Industries plant after remediation.

With the transfer to private ownership completed through a General Services Administration auction, LM’s continuing long-term stewardship responsibilities will include monitoring groundwater, managing site records, and conducting long-term periodic reviews with coordination from the new owner and the New York Department of Environmental Conservation (NYSDEC).

“It took a lot of work and collaboration to get where we are today,” Castillo said. “Getting the property back into private ownership is a tribute to USACE’s dedication to cleanup and to the GSA’s commitment to disposition.”

“Back in the 1920s, a toy manufacturer operated at the site,” Eichelberger said. “The site has had a fascinating past, and I’m looking forward to seeing its exciting future.”