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More cleanup work likely for former Augsbury Oil site in Sackets Harbor

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SACKETS HARBOR — The village’s Local Development Corp. may see costs as high as $525,000 to continue cleanup work at the former Augsbury Oil terminal brownfield following a recent inspection by the state Department of Environmental Conservation.

The soil quality issues were brought up at a meeting Aug. 6 between the LDC and DEC, following up on an inspection conducted the week before. The LDC was informed about the potential issues by its consultant in July.

Cleaning of the site on Ambrose Street near Bolton’s Farm has been in the works for several years.

A DEC spokesman said the site still showed high levels of contamination.

The LDC’s leadership contends that DEC’s soil-cleaning standards have changed since the cleanup began, a charge the department denies.

“We thought we had satisfied the requirements,” said Donald L. DiMonda, the LDC’s president. “After this, we find out the requirements have changed.”

However, a DEC spokesman said the standards have not changed and there might have been a miscommunication between the LDC and its consultant on what would be necessary.

Mr. DiMonda said a miscommunication was possible, because of the technical nature of the cleanup work.

A phone message left Thursday with H. Nevin Bradford, president of Strategic Environmental LLC, Baldwinsville, the LDC’s consultant for the project, was not returned.

According to Mr. DiMonda, the department’s tests indicated 3,500 yards on the south side of Ambrose Street and 1,200 yards on the north side of the site were not up to par.

LDC officials will continue discussions with DEC at a meeting scheduled for early September that will involve the development of an additional measurement of the contamination and a new remediation plan.

Two options that might be available for the cleanup would be either removal or rotation of the contaminated soil.

The costs for the extraction and dumping of the contaminated soil would come to about $525,000. If the soil rotation option were to be allowed, the LDC’s costs would drop to about $300,000.

“It’s not something we look forward to,” Mr. DiMonda said. “We have capital, but we’re trying to be as careful as possible as far as spending that capital.”

While the LDC still has funding from its 2006 sale of 40 acres of cleaned land to the state, Mr. DiMonda said, grants are being pursued to help ease costs of the work. He estimated the LDC has invested $100,000 in the cleanup so far.

“These environmental things, these usually take longer than you think, and cost more than you would hope,” Mr. DiMonda said.

The sold land, which later was added to the Sackets Harbor Battlefield State Historic Site, netted the LDC $789,000.

Mr. DiMonda said the LDC’s goal is to reach compliance with the department.

“You want to make sure the ground is clean and that nobody will have a problem with it,” he said.

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