State to be reimbursed $8.05 million for cleanup of ExxonMobil oil contamination at Ogdensburg’s Lighthouse Point
Friday, November 22, 2013 - 2:48 pm

The cleaned-up site, in green, is part of Ogdensburg’s Local Waterfront Revitalization Plan (http://www.ogdensburgwaterfront.com/)

OGDENSBURG -- ExxonMobil Oil Corporation will reimburse the State of New York $8.05 million for costs incurred by the state in investigating and remediating oil accumulations on Lighthouse Point, on the Oswegatchie and St. Lawrence rivers.

The office of state Attorney General Eric Schneidermann announced the agreement today.

The Lighthouse Point site has been used as a shipyard, railyard and ExxonMobil petroleum tank farm.

A portion of the point is now the historical Fort de la Presentation reconstruction site.

The “above-ground petroleum storage facility ... contained an underground pipe that carried petroleum products from the Oswegatchie River to the tanks. The site was owned by the New York Central Railroad Company and Mobil Oil, but also has had several owners since the railroad closed,” another document on Ogdensburg city web site says.

From the late 1800s to 1984, ExxonMobil owned and operated the major oil storage facility on Lighthouse Point, a peninsula along the St. Lawrence and Oswegatchie rivers. The facility was composed of a barge dock facility on the east side of the point for receiving petroleum deliveries by barge on the Oswegatchie River, and the main terminal on the west side of the point.

The main terminal contained seven above-ground tanks that stored gasoline, diesel, fuel oil and kerosene; a truck loading rack; and 1,500 feet of subsurface pipelines that connected the barge dock facility to the main terminal. Approximately 8 billion gallons of petroleum were distributed from the terminal in an average year to tanker trucks for retail distribution during its operation, according to the news release from the attorney general’s office.

In 2001, petroleum contamination was discovered at the spill site when an investigators encountered contaminated soil on a parcel adjacent to the main terminal. Following the report of the spill, further investigation revealed widespread petroleum contamination in and around the former ExxonMobil main terminal facility and near underground pipelines connecting the terminal to the Oswegatchie River.

The site was cleaned up between fall 2006 and fall 2007. It was overseen by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation and paid for by the state Oil Spill Fund.

After that, the attorney general’s office pursued ExxonMobil for reimbursement.

“It’s only right that corporations who jeopardize the sanctity of New York’s natural resources should have to pay for the damage they caused,” said Attorney General Schneiderman, whose office announced the settlement reached Nov. 14 in Albany County Supreme Court.

“Through today’s agreement, we’re not only returning millions to the state but also holding ExxonMobil responsible for their role in this oil spill,” Schneidermann said.