Hi-tech tester coming to Ballston Spa

An aging former knitting mill site in Ballston Spa has been completely revamped to house one of the village's most cutting-edge businesses.

CNA Environmental Services, owned by Keith Avellino, is a testing company for products ranging from water to food to shrink-wrap used on edibles. Avellino launched the business 12 years ago with his wife and one employee, then located the headquarters in the city of Saratoga Springs before deciding to move south.

Honestly, I didn't consider building in Ballston Spa initially, but when I started looking, I realized how much the village suited what I needed, said Avellino. "Compared to Saratoga Springs, it was much simpler moving here as far as the building process; it was the difference between day and night."

The new location at 27 Kent St. is a 3,200-square-foot building employing 13 people. The company currently tests and monitors the village's water system, making sure the public drinking water is safe. It is also one of the few certified food testers in the area, testing everything from dairy products to produce for contaminants such as E. coli.

"We have an elaborate microbiology department with state-of-the-art equipment that would really surprise people with its technical proficiency," said Avellino. "Every time we hear about an outbreak of infected meat, we get lots of phone calls."

The company also tests food-packaging materials such as shrink-wrap and the plastic tops on milk jugs.

"We have sophisticated equipment, including ultraviolet lighting, disinfected air, and back-up generators on everything," said Avellino.

The doors will open at the site on Monday, Nov. 5, and Avellino said he welcomes people taking a look at the facility, but due to the nature of chemicals used in the labs, they can offer only small group tours.

Village Trustee Bob Cavanaugh said the board is pleased to have companies like CNA move into what has historically been a quaint downtown business district.

"We're glad to welcome them to town and to show people the village is a great place for any company to be located," said Cavanaugh. "Our rents are certainly better than any place around."

Avellino said he anticipates expanding his company further in the near future.

"This has been a lifelong dream of mine, and the fact that I've financed it all by myself is just the icing on the cake," said Avellino. "I plan to spend a long time here and eventually to take on more space.""

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