DEC proposes plan to investigate former Breneman site in Oswego

The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation is seeking comment on a plan to investigate the former Breneman site at 8 E. Utica St., Oswego, as a possible brownfield.

A brownfield is any real property that is difficult to reuse or redevelop because of the presence or potential presence of contamination.

The draft investigation work plan was submitted to the DEC under New York’s Brownfield Cleanup Program. The investigation will be performed by Canalview Development LLC with oversight by DEC and the New York State Department of Health.

The investigation will define the nature and extent of contamination in soil, surface water, groundwater and any other parts of the environment that may be affected.

Data collected previously at the site indicated relatively low levels of certain contaminants in soil.

The site covers approximately 2.1 acres and is situated on the southwest corner of the intersection of East Utica and East First streets, which is also State Route 481.

The Oswego Canal is located approximately 100 feet west of the site.

The site is currently vacant and lies in the B3 Redevelopment zoning district, which allows for commercial uses and certain residential uses, such as condominiums, multi-family dwellings.

The surrounding area consists primarily of residential properties with some commercial properties along East First Street and East Utica Street.

The site was used for manufacturing purposes from approximately 1834 until approximately 1981.

Owners and operators during this period included the Oswego Shade Cloth Company and Stewart Hartshorn Company, and possibly others.

From approximately 1954 through 1982, the site was owned by Breneman of Wisconsin, Inc., which manufactured window shades at the site until approximately 1981.

It was reported that industrial wastes were formerly disposed of on the property.

For a time, the Breneman facility was divided by a canal, which was labeled “hydraulic canal” on historic maps of the facility and was presumably used for power generation.

It was present on maps from 1890 through 1964, but anecdotal history of the site suggests the hydraulic canal was present prior to any industrial development in 1834. It has since been filled.

Several paints, dyes, oils, organic solvents and plasticizers were used in the manufacturing processes at the facility, including acetone, methyl ethyl ketone, naphtha, polyvinyl chloride resin, and dioctyl phthalate.

Chemical and petroleum storage tanks were formerly located on the site, including both above-ground storage tanks and underground storage tanks.

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