Lake Shore Drive property to be cleaned up

The city of Dunkirk will see another brownfield cleanup with the Bertges property on Lake Shore Drive. The state Department of Environ-mental Conservation has said it is necessary for the property to be cleaned up.

The announcement by Chair Steve Neratko came at the monthly meeting of the Dunkirk Local Develop-ment Corporation. The DEC identified the property located at 18 Lake Shore Drive W. is in need of remedial and cleanup work. The DLDC owns the site of the property.

“There is contamination on the site. We were previously working with Krog and TurnKey regarding cleanup … they are no longer interested in going forward,” Neratko said. “The DEC is requiring us to do the minimal amount of cleanup.”

When Krog and TurnKey submitted their application, Neratko said the application involved cleanup of the entire site for which the city would have had to take the lead and pay for the cleanup. There was no action on the application. Another option for cleanup would involve the city to be enrolled in the Brownfield Program, which the city is no longer a part of.

Another option for the DLDC would involve being a part of the New York SPILLS Program through the state DEC. Through this program, there are two options for the DLDC. One option would involve the city taking the lead or another option allows the state DEC to be the lead.

“We take the lead and we front the costs. We wouldn’t be able to get any funds from previous owners. If we did want to go that route, we’d have to take legal action and it would probably be a long process.

“The other route we can take is let the state take the lead. They come in, they pay for it and then after the fact they may or may not request some reimbursement for that process. At that point, they will look to see who is responsible – it could be the current owner, past owners or a combination,” Neratko said.

According to Neratko, sometimes the state does not require reimbursement payment. The state DEC said its prices would be comparable to other prices the DLDC would find if they were to take the lead on the cleanup. Councilwoman Stacy Szukala asked why the state DEC would want to take the lead on the project.

“Their prices are competitive. They have contracts already in place with all their vendors. It’s a much quicker process. … Really they’re just in the business of doing this,” Neratko said.

The DLDC voted to approve an agreement with the state DEC for the SPILLS program and to give permission to Neratko to let DEC be the lead agency on the project. The cleanup could start in a few weeks and may be finished by the end of February, Neratko said.

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