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Ogdensburg studies contaminated properties

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OGDENSBURG — The city Office of Planning and Development broke ground Monday on a State Street project aimed at helping to restore contaminated sites. The property, across from Little Italy, 900 State St., is used primarily as an additional parking lot for the restaurant and is owned by Joseph Cammisano.

Engineers from the state Department of Environmental Conservation,U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and Barton & Loguidice, Albany, worked throughout the day, checking for contaminated soil at the former gas station site.

They removed the large gas tanks from the property before studying soil samples.

City Planning and Development Director Andrea L. Smith said a small amount of soil was found to be contaminated from a minor petroleum leak, but was eventually contained.

The project is part of the city’s efforts to help clean up brownfields on private properties.

Brownfields are properties where moderate contamination threatens environmental quality and public health and can interfere with redevelopment, Mrs. Smith said.

“The project isn’t necessarily aimed at cleanup,” she said. “Our goal is to first assess these properties because many landowners may not know whether their property is contaminated or not. And they may be hesitant to build or expand because they do know what is in the soil.”

The city received $200,000 from the EPA to assess contaminated private properties in 2013. Combined with the city’s $200,000 hazardous cleanup fund, the grant will specifically be used to assess sites with hazardous substances and petroleum contamination

Mrs. Smith said the goal of the project is also to change the city’s “stigma of brownfields...by going in and actually assessing these properties, we can show that they aren’t contaminated.”

Mr. Cammisano said he is hoping to expand or rent the building on the site once the assessment is complete and the property is cleared of any possible contamination.

The project on State Street will continue until Wednesday.

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