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EPA to help 2 cities' projects


The cities of Watertown and Ogdensburg will get help from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency brownfield program to clean up blighted properties.

On Monday, the EPA announced Ogdensburg will receive $1 million to set up a revolving loan fund and $200,000 to continue cleaning the former Standard Shade Roller property. Watertown will receive $200,000 to remove contaminated soil at the former Ogilvie Foods site.

"This is all very good news," Ogdensburg City Manager Arthur J. Sciorra said in a statement. "We are eager to get the asbestos abated and the buildings demolished at the Shade Roller site, and the cleanup grant is another step toward achieving that goal."

The Ogdensburg cleanup grant will go toward removing petroleum, metals and other pollutants from the 7.8-acre property, which housed boat, match and shade-roller manufacturing plants.

The money will be used with a $700,000 state grant to tear down several buildings on the property, and a recently awarded $100,000 federal grant to continue assessing the area.

With its $1 million grant, Ogdensburg will set up a $1,116,000 fund to give grants and loans to private property owners to clean polluted sites. The city has identified about 13 acres of underused sites that are potentially polluted.

"We'll use the program to inventory those sites and then put together redevelopment plans and then make money available to implement those plans through the revolving loan fund," Ogdensburg City Planning and Development Director J. Justin Woods said. The "fund will give us another tool in our redevelopment toolbox."

According to Kenneth A. Mix, Watertown planning and development coordinator, the city will use its money to completely clean the four-acre site off North Pleasant Street that housed the Ogilvie Foods plant.

Testing in 2006 found about 950 cubic yards of petroleum-laced soil and estimated cleanup at about $90,000.

"It's been on our minds for quite some time," Mr. Mix said.

Both cities will have to provide a $40,000 match for the cleanup grants.

According to EPA spokeswoman Beth Totman, the agency announced a total of $17 million for 17 revolving loan funds and $19.36 million for 99 cleanup projects across the country.

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