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Sat., Oct. 3
Serving the communities of Massena and Potsdam, New York
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Samples show Potsdam not responsible for oil spill


POTSDAM - The town is likely off the hook when it comes to paying for cleanup of the oil-contaminated soil found in the basement of 35 Market St.

Soil samples taken Tuesday confirm the town’s suspicion that the contamination came from an oil tank buried underneath the sidewalk in front of the building next door, which began leaking and was removed in 1972.

The samples were taken in an attempt to prove that the theory about the source of the spill was correct, and that the town was not at fault for the spill.

“I’m happy to report that we found it,” said Brian Jacot, a consultant with Greystone Strategies LLC, Saratoga Springs.

The town contracted Greystone Strategies for $6,750 to conduct a study to prove that the town was not responsible for the contamination.

The oil was discovered in October as the building, which was formerly the town hall, was being renovated to serve as the town court.

The state Department of Environmental Conservation was called in to assess the severity of the contamination.

The soil samples will still need to be analyzed to confirm the source of the spill, but officials say they are confident their suspicions will be borne out.

“It looks like this is probably a formality at this point,” Mr. Jacot said.

Once the town has established the source of the spill, it can apply for reimbursement from the state spill fund for cleanup costs. Potsdam has already spent over $50,000 removing the contaminated soil.

A soil sample taken last month showed that the contamination has not spread to other Market Street buildings. Mr. Jacot said it is unlikely the DEC will call for further action now that the bulk of the contamination has been removed and the source has been determined.

Renovation on the court is slated for completion in February.

The construction of the new town hall is also nearing completion. Officials are planning to move the town offices to the new location by the end of January.

The town received a $2,800 rebate from St. Lawrence Gas for their efforts to make both buildings energy-efficient. The boilers purchased for the buildings are 94 percent efficient, well above the 80 percent state minimum.

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