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St. Lawrence County settles with CDM

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CANTON — St. Lawrence County has settled a dispute with consultant Camp, Dresser and McKee that will return to the county nearly $400,000 it was not reimbursed by the state Department of Environmental Conservation and allow CDM to continue an environmental study on 18 acres of the former Jones & Laughlin Steel Co. site.

“It’s a tremendous milestone but it’s another beginning,” Legislator Frederick S. Morrill, D-DeKalb Junction, said. “I know the community is excited about moving forward.”

The billing dispute had threatened to derail the progress of work at the 18 acres, which was split off from the 54-acre property in the town of Clifton as it is less contaminated. The remaining 34 acres has been accepted as a Superfund site and the scope of its contamination is being investigated by a different firm, Mr. Morrill said.

When CDM, Cambridge, Mass., was working on the entire property, it was paid $654,936 by the county.

DEC questioned much of CDM’s work and refused to reimburse the county for about $400,000.

“We will be getting back our funds,” Mr. Morrill said.

CDM will also pay interest on the money. The money held by DEC will be sufficient to finish the site investigation and could be enough to start remediation.

As part of the settlement, CDM will deposit the disputed amount of money in an escrow account while the county resubmits CDM’s invoices to DEC. If there are any bills DEC still refuses to approve for reimbursement to the county, CDM will pay the county that amount from the escrow account.

DEC will preapprove CDM’s future billings before the county pays them. The county will then be reimbursed by DEC.

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