Massena firm secures contract to clean former General Motors powertrain operation
Friday, February 8, 2013 - 9:23 am

MASSENA -- Perras Environmental Control Inc., a family-owned environmental services firm in Massena, has been awarded the contract for the third phase of cleanup at the site of the former General Motors Powertrain operation near the banks of the St. Lawrence River.

Perras was one of seven firms that bid for the work, which is expected to begin in March and last through November.

An estimated 25 to 30 Perras employees will be on the job most days.

The project, at the northern edge of the property, involves dismantling of three buildings and the excavation and off-site disposal of an estimated 58,000 cubic yards of PCB-laced soils. Three waste-fluid lagoons will be drained, excavated and filled with clean soil. Excavators will dig as deep as 50 feet in some places.

The excavated materials will be sent off site in rail cars.

"Perras' technical approach to the project, its onsite team, the cost-competitiveness of the bid and its determination to utilize an environmentally friendly method of disposal were superior," said Brendan Mullen, New York Cleanup Manager for the RACER Trust. "They have an experienced local work force that is accustomed to these kinds of projects. They know our site, we're very comfortable working with their people and we are eager to get started."

RACER (Revitalizing Auto Communities Environmental Response) Trust, overseer of the GM project, has been criticized for past decisions to bring in workers from outside the area to do work at the site.

"We're thrilled that a local company has the resources and proven expertise to execute a project of this magnitude," said Elliott P. Laws, Trustee of the RACER Trust, which owns the property and awarded the contract. "Job creation and revitalization are the cornerstone of our mission, and that begins with seeking qualified local contractors to provide everything from remediation services to site security. We are committed to partnering with communities and businesses to provide opportunities for local residents."

Perras previously performed remediation work at the site for GM. Perras also has experience with remediation projects for Alcoa's Massena Operations.

"We're very happy to have been awarded this contract and look forward to getting started," said Jeffrey Tyo, President of Perras Environmental Control. "Once we finish, the property will be substantially ready for redevelopment and reuse. I know that's very important to the RACER Trust, as it is to our company and our community. This is a great location for business and we're excited to be a part of preparing it for future commerce."

This phase of remediation will involve the dismantling and removal of a 21,500-square-foot storage building and removal of impacted soils beneath, and dismantling and removal of a 10,000-square-foot wastewater treatment plant, which has been replaced by a new onsite treatment facility. A smaller building that supported the former wastewater treatment plant also will be dismantled and removed.

"This is great news for Massena and St. Lawrence County, both because this important work will soon begin and because it means good jobs for local people and a strong local business," said Tony Arquiett, chairman of the North Country Redevelopment Task Force and a member of the St. Lawrence County Board of Legislators. "I would like to thank the RACER Trust for its ongoing commitment to our community and to finding new uses for the former GM site that will result in renewed economic life and jobs. RACER has been an outstanding partner and I am confident that the future is bright for the former GM site."

The first two phases of the cleanup work involved dismantling and removal of the main factory building, followed by removal of the building's slab as well as subsurface tunnels and impacted soils.

RACER (Revitalizing Auto Communities Environmental Response) Trust was created to clean up and position for redevelopment properties and other facilities owned by the former General Motors Corp. before its 2009 bankruptcy. RACER is one of the largest holders of industrial property in the United States and is the largest environmental response and remediation trust in U.S. history. When the Trust was formed, it owned 89 properties in 14 states, principally in the Midwest and Northeast. The Trust, which is independent, was created by a settlement agreement in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court between the U.S. Government, the 14 states where the former GM properties are located, and the St. Regis Mohawk Tribe, which owns land adjoining the Massena property. For more information, visit

Perras Environmental Control Inc. was established as a sister corporation of Perras Excavating Inc. and has been in operation in Massena since 1990. Perras Environmental Control Inc. is described as a well-rounded environmental services company that specializes in lined lagoons and basins; wetlands construction; landfills; marine construction; remedial excavation; hazardous waste management; emergency response operations; and decontamination/decommission of facilities. For more information, visit