New Milford fires contractor for Century Brass demolition
Published 4:07 pm, Tuesday, January 12, 2016
NEW MILFORD — The town has fired the Century Brass demolition contractor following a dispute over who was responsible for paying to clean up the mill’s 1,500 tons of contaminated steel.
Trumbull-based Standard Demolition Services has removed its construction trailers from the Scovill Street site and the temporary fencing around the 320,000-square-foot building will soon be taken down.
“The contractor’s position is that the town is responsible for the PCB remediation of the steel,” Mayor David Gronbach told the Town Council Monday night. “The contractor contends that should have been done before they came to the project. Our contention is that they were hired to handle the PCB cleanup.”
The contract signed in October between the town and Standard Demolition Services stated the building would be razed by Feb. 1 and approval was needed from the Environmental Protection Agency for the cleanup plan. Standard Demolition informed the town last month the EPA had not approved its plan for the site, Gronbach said. The EPA required the steel beams in the mill be brought to a decontaminated state before being moved off site.
“The EPA letter allocated contamination risk to the contractor,” town attorney John Tower said. “The contractor waited until day 75 of the contract to contact the town that they had an issue. The building cannot come down by Feb. 1. We feel solid that they assumed the risk implied and then reneged on it in an unsatisfactory timeframe.”
Town officials hope the insurance company that holds the contractor’s performance bond will agree and find a qualified company to complete the demolition project.
However, Tower also said Standard Demolition, which was contracted to do $2.7 million worth of work, could claim it was wrongfully terminated.
Ray Garcia, of Garcia & Miles, the attorneys representing Standard Demolition, said the town acted prematurely, ending the relationship with the company that was still willing to do the work.
“My client was fully prepared to complete the work,” Garcia said Tuesday. “The town refused to pay them. To the extent that the dispute was over what payment was due, we were prepared to do the work under protest and argue about money due later.”
Garcia said the “argument” between the town and the demolition company was “whether Standard was responsible to pay for testing the dust on the steel or if the town had to do tests before the work.”
“Before Standard took the steel out, the town had to test and the town refused to test,” Garcia said. “Everything stopped because the town failed to perform its obligations under the contract.”
Century Brass mill contains steel beams that run vertically and horizontally from the concrete slab flooring to the 40-foot ceiling. The facility contains about 1,500 tons of PCB contaminated steel.