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Collins site cleanup to take at least a year

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HEUVELTON — It will take at least a year to rid the former Collins property of petroleum contamination once funding is secured to pay for the $1.9 million cleanup, a state official said this week.

“When funding is available the project is expected to take between 12 to 18 months,” Department of Environmental Conservation press officer Lori M. Severino said.

DEC will hold a public hearing at 7 p.m. March 6 to discuss proposed remediation of the 5.4-acre site on Route 68, owned by the town of Oswegatchie. The hearing will be held at the Town Hall, 51 State St., Heuvelton. A public comment period will end March 25.

A total of 16,300 cubic yards of contaminated soil, or 24,450 tons, will be excavated, treated and returned to the earth under the DEC plan. No soil will have to be removed from the site.

“The on-site treatment identified as the remedy is expected to deal with the problem,” Ms. Severino said via email. “The petroleum compounds are very receptive to biological breakdown once soil turning/aeration occurs.”

The town took hold-harmless title to the site from Clarence J. Collins/Real Estate Development Co. Inc. in April 2007. From the 1930s until then, it was a storage facility owned by several petroleum companies including Atlantic Fuels, Ultramar Petroleum Inc., Augsbury Corp., Gulf Oil Corp. and Esso Standard Oil Co. Gasoline, fuel oil and kerosene were stored in tanks ranging in size from 353,000 to 3.3 million gallons. The above-ground tanks were removed in the 1980s.

According to DEC, an investigation of the site revealed the presence of volatile organic compounds, semivolatile organic compounds and metals. Soil and groundwater contamination exists as a result of petroleum spills. The remediation will cost an estimated $1,918,000. DEC, according to Ms. Severino, will want to be reimbursed.

“Potentially responsible parties are those who may be legally liable for contamination at a site,” she said. “This may include past or present owners and operators, waste generators and haulers. Since PRPs have been identified, legal action may be initiated at a future date by the state to recover state response costs. All past PRPs will be evaluated for cost recovery including, but not limited to: Real Estate Development Co. Inc., Atlantic Fuels, Ultramar Petroleum Inc., Augsbury Corp., Gulf Oil Corp. and Esso Standard Oil Co.”

Town officials are eager to see the St. Lawrence River property cleaned, developed and returned to the tax rolls. Town Council member Bruce O. LaRose said he envisions condominium housing, “something along those lines.”

With the river frontage, he said, it can’t miss.

“It’s a beautiful area,” Mr. LaRose said.

Additional site details, including environmental and health assessment summaries, are available online at www.dec.ny.gov/cfmx/extapps/derexternal/haz/detailsfm?pageid=3&progno=E645045.

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