DEC to investigate area east of Harbor View Square

Oswego's Harbor View Square housing development, seen above right, is prompting state environmental officials to begin brownfield investigation into the property across the street, seen above left.

OSWEGO — While remediation wraps up at the Harbor View Square, the New York Department of Environmental Conservation is set to study the area east as a part of the state’s Brownfield Cleanup Program.

The DEC will investigate the site, located near the corner of West First and West Van Buren Streets and eastbound to the Oswego River, to better define the extent of contamination in the groundwater originating from the Harbor View Square and provide data to support the design of the remedy for the area.

The investigation, which is scheduled to begin in late June and continue for approximately two months, will include installing borings into the bedrock, collecting and analyzing bedrock samples, and collecting data to determine groundwater flow paths.

“Some borings will be installed in the grassy area and others will be in the roadways and/or the right-of-way,” said the DEC’s Kevin Frazier. “The borings will essentially surround Oswego’s West Side Excess Flow Management Facility and the LaFarge Cement Terminal.”

The state’s Brownfield Cleanup Program encourages voluntary cleanup of contaminated properties known as brownfields, so they can be reused and redeveloped. Possible uses include recreation, housing, business or other uses.

Previous investigations in the Harbor View Square area showed that chlorinated solvents tetrachloroethene and trichloroethane (TCE) and their degradation products were present in the site’s subsurface and leaving the site in the groundwater. TCE is often associated with the manufacturing of metal parts.

Harbor View Square was used for industrial purposes since at least 1880, the DEC said, with the most recent industrial use at the site was metal wire manufacturing, including when it was the home of Flexo-Wire.

The selected remedy for the area called for treating the groundwater in place by injecting substances that will break down contaminants to less toxic or non-toxic byproducts.

Syracuse non-profit Housing Visions is developing the Harbor View Square site, which will include 75 apartments and roughly 9,200 square feet of retail and commercial space, as a part of the city’s Downtown Revitalization Initiative, which was a $10 million award given to the city in 2016.

Ben Lockwood, the president and CEO of Housing Visions, said he doesn’t anticipate the new round of testing to affect his organization’s project. He said construction is continuing to move along and the townhouses are nearing completion.

Frazier said most of the remediation is done in Harbor View Square.

“Most of the cleanup actions required to address soil contamination on the Harbor View Square site have been completed,” Frazier said. “A cover system (clean soil or pavement) is still needed over small portion of the site that is currently under construction. … Remedial actions to address contamination in bedrock groundwater have not yet been implemented by the BCP volunteer and are anticipated to begin this year.”

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