DEC proposes cleanup plan for Manufactured Gas Plant

by Andrew Henderson

The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation has released a proposed cleanup plan for National Grid’s former Manufactured Gas Plant located at West Utica Street in Oswego.

The site was operated by National Grid’s predecessor from the 1850s to the 1930s. Gas was manufactured by heating coal. Freshly-manufactured gas had to be cooled and its impurities removed before it could be used.

A coal tar resulted from these processes, some of which was released to the environment. Coal tar contains a number of chemical contaminants, primarily benzene, toluene, ethylbenzene, xylene and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons.

The extent of impacts was found through a series of investigations conducted by National Grid. MGP impacts were found in soil and groundwater underlying the former gas works.

MGP contaminants have also migrated off-site. The impact will be addressed in the future.

The site is currently occupied by several small businesses, including an equipment rental company, an auto repair shop and a carpet retail business. Paved parking areas occupy the remainder of the flat 1.2 acre site.

Since most of the site is covered with buildings, pavement or vegetation, direct contact with MGP-related contaminants is not likely, according to the DEC.

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