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Brownfield assessment program draws interest

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The federal Brownfield Assessment Program may be a place to start to get some relief for Ogdensburg property owners who are worried that their property may be contaminated.

City Planning and Development Director Andrea L. Smith and Barton and Loguidice engineering firm managing hydrogeologist Stephen B. Le Fevre spoke Wednesday about the program to a handful of people during a lightly-attended, hour-long information meeting at the Dobisky Visitors Center.

“We talked to some people who are interested in applying,” she 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: I for research of the property’s past use and II for soil tests to gauge the degree of contamination.

The grants, which must be spent by 2015, have enough to cover the cost of up to 20 Phase I and six Phase II assessments. The property owners do not have to pay for the assessment but would likely need 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 located one block over at 830 State St. Its aging underground fuel tanks are coming out this summer, he’s been told there’s some contamination but not how much remediation is going to ultimately cost him.

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

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