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Ogdensburg industrial site cleanup to begin

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The buildings are gone from the Standard Shade Roller site, but much work remains before the property along the St. Lawrence River can be sold and developed.

Before Monday’s City Council meeting, Stephen B. LeFevre of Barton & Loguidice, the Syracuse engineering firm hired to oversee the cleanup, gave a progress report.

“All buildings have been demolished to their lowermost concrete floor,” he said. “The next step is to make a remedial investigation work plan.”

The work plan would use data from a previous partial study that found contamination from heavy metals, including a zinc-cyanide alloy used to plate materials at the site.

“We did have enough data to determine that there are areas which we refer to as areas of concern,” Mr. LeFevre said. “We know there is metal contamination in that area. There was also a maintenance garage on the site that used floor drains and dry wells. We know there is pollution from solvents and degreasers used there, and that there was a heating oil tank that leaked.”

Once the additional pollution sites are identified and investigated, the city has a couple of options, Mr. LeFevre said. Ogdensburg can choose to remove the pollution itself, or catalog the work that remains to be completed and allow a developer to remove the pollution, allowing it to take advantage of tax incentives for the cleanup.

“You could clean it up to where it is basically done and tell the developer what’s left, or you could make it shovel-ready,” Mr. LeFevre said.

If funding is secured for the remaining cleanup, which Mr. LeFevre said could cost about $700,000, the work could be complete by March.

“There’s always a chance you could find more,” Mr. LeFevre said. “I don’t think we’re going to find numerous underground storage tanks or anything like that.”

The demolition work, completed by Aria Contracting Corp. of Orchard Park, cost $631,000. It included removing asbestos and other hazardous materials from the site.

Ogdensburg paid for the work using funds from a $1 million U.S. Environmental Protection Agency revolving loan grant from the Ogdensburg Growth Fund and Development Corp.

The city will reimburse the growth fund with $200,000 from the EPA, $700,000 from a Restore NY grant and a $100,000 grant from the St. Lawrence Valley Redevelopment Corp.

“It is a wonderful thing,” said Mayor William D. Nelson. “Looking back at the Diamond site, the timeline it takes to get those sites cleaned up, the progress we’ve made is remarkable, getting those buildings down and addressing any additional communication.”

The 7.8-acre site includes 1,000 feet of waterfront on the St. Lawrence River and is included in Ogdensburg’s Brownfields Opportunity Area and Local Waterfront Revitalization Plan.

“It is critically important to our community to get these sites back to usage,” he said. “That is where the future of our community is, right there on the waterfront.”

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