Asbestos & Lead Abatement, Utica, New York


  • Abatement of asbestos containing materials
  • Guano removal and biological cleaning
  • Scrapping of all surfaces on four floors to remove loose and flaking lead-based paint
  • Select demolition of all MEPs
  • Exterior building improvements

This abandoned Psychiatric Center building in Utica, New York and was originally constructed in 1843 as one of the nation’s first publicly funded institutions for the mentally ill. Commonly referred to as “Old Main”, the building was placed on the National Registry for Historic Places in 1971 and officially decommissioned in 1978.

“Old Main” has five levels with over 500 rooms throughout. The first level of the building was previously restored for patient file storage and a small area in the center is open to the public as a museum. The upper four levels of the building have remained vacant since its decommissioning. Subsequently birds began to colonize the upper levels, leaving inches of guano throughout the halls and rooms. In addition, many areas of the exterior were overgrown with vines and vegetation. Many of the windows were in disrepair giving weather and animals access to the interior.

The building contained about 10,000 ft2 of ACM floor tile, 800 LF of pipe insulation, and various other asbestos materials. The second through fifth floors made up approximately 225,000 ft2 of area impacted by flaking lead-based paint, pigeon guano, carcasses, and other waste.

SES mobilized to the site and systematically began to secure the exterior openings and remove the pigeon population from the building. SES then separated the building into smaller sections and began removing the guano. At the same time, the loose and flaking lead-based paint materials on the ceiling and walls was removed.  A vac loader was utilized to collect the guano and paint materials, consolidating them into waste containers outside the building.

The walls and floors were scrubbed and washed with a lead cleaning agent. The floors were then encapsulated prior to starting the asbestos abatement activities. The asbestos abatement was conducted in areas in as lead abatement was complete. Teams systematically worked together so that lead and asbestos abatement could occur at the same time, allowing for a smooth and efficient progression through the building. The select demolition consisted of removing all mechanical, electrical, and plumbing fixtures from the upper floors as well as select cabinetry. The exterior improvements included removal of all vine growth and window bars. Polycarbonate covers were then installed over all windows and select door openings.