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Brownfield assessment program draws interest

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OGDENSBURG — The federal Brownfields Assessment Program may be a place to start for city property owners who are worried that their land may be contaminated.

City Planning and Development Director Andrea L. Smith and Stephen B. LeFevre, managing hydrogeologist for Barton & Loguidice engineering firm, Syracuse, spoke Wednesday about the program to a handful of people during a lightly attended, hourlong informational meeting at the Dobisky Visitors Center.

“We talked to some people who are interested in applying,” Ms. Smith said.

The program has two grants totaling $320,000 — $200,000 for hazardous substances and $120,000 for petroleum — that the city received last fall from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

It has two phases of implementation, the first for research of the property’s past use and the second for soil tests to gauge the degree of contamination.

The grants, which must be spent by 2015, are enough to cover the cost of up to 20 Phase I and six Phase II assessments. Property owners do not have to pay for an assessment but likely would have to find funding for remediation, if necessary.

Joseph Cammisano, who owns the Little Italy restaurant at 900 State St., is interested in the program. He also owns a former gas station one block over at 830 State St. Its aging underground fuel tanks are being removed this summer. Mr. Cammisano has been told there’s some contamination but not how much remediation ultimately is going to cost him.

“We’re just starting the process now,” he said.

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