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Cleanup of former Matt Petroleum site underway in Utica

By WKTV News

UTICA, N.Y. (WKTV) - The cleanup of the former Matt Petroleum site in the heavily industrial northern section of the city is underway, according to the Department of Environmental Conservation.

"The launch of the Matt Petroleum cleanup is significant for the people of Utica, the local economy and the environment," Commissioner Grannis said. "With this cleanup, DEC will address contamination left behind by past users of the property which will enable the city to plan for its future productive use."

The DEC said that since Fall 2008, they have achieved three major remediation goals in Utica: the removal of the Bossert Manufacturing site from the Superfund program, the launch of the dredge-spoil cleanup of Utica Harbor and the commencement of the Matt Petroleum cleanup.

Located on Leland Avenue and bordered by the Mohawk River, the former Matt Petroleum site is a 4.7-acre parcel that housed a brickyard in the first half of the 20th century and a bulk petroleum terminal from the 1950s to the 1990s.

Over the years, leaking pipes and tanks contributed to soil and water contamination, and several major oil and gasoline spills in excess of 50,000 gallons resulted in discharges reaching the river. Various grades of petroleum products ranging from heavy fuel oil to lighter gasoline and diesel products were routinely stored and used on the site.

As the DEC was developing the cleanup remedy for Matt Petroleum, some interim remedial work was conducted, including the removal of 14 above-ground petroleum storage tanks, five underground storage tanks, a network of piping and several buildings. The interim work allowed DEC to determine the extent of the pollution and the appropriate cleanup strategy. As the cleanup gets underway, the plan calls for excavating approximately 77,000 tons of petroleum-contaminated soils.

Digging will be conducted to the underlying clay layer which ranges from five to 12 feet below the surface. Beginning this week, contractors will be on-hand to prepare the site for the cleanup work.

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