Exxon Mobil will remove metal debris from harborfront site

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04/06/2012 5:00 PM |

KATHARINE SCHROEDER PHOTO | A view of the property from the beach.

Exxon Mobil is preparing to clean up its beach in Greenport before donating it to the Peconic Land Trust.

The 2.6-acre parcel at the end of Fourth Street along Greenport Harbor will be cleared of a 26-foot metal sheathing exposed by erosion at an old bulkhead. Loose cable wires and other debris that surfaced after recent storms will also be removed.

Kristin Mobyed, a project manager for the Exxon Mobil Environmental Service Company, a division that handles the company’s surplus sites, said the project will involve digging down three feet by hand with shovels and using a torch to remove the metal sheathing and make the beach safer.

“They will be walking away with the pieces in sections,” Ms. Mobyed said. “We plan to begin as soon as possible. It should only take a day or two to complete.”

Last month the Greenport Village Board unanimously approved the wetlands permit the cleanup project required.

The former bulk fuel storage terminal first became operational in the 1920s. All structures, including six tanks, were demolished in the 1990s. Since then, homeless people have been known to live in tents there.

The state Department of Environmental Conservation began an investigation of the property in 1990, when the oil company removed an underground tank. The DEC’s investigation ended after the site was officially closed in July 2010. The agency then determined that any remaining traces of oil products would break down naturally.

In March, Exxon Mobil announced plans to donate the land, valued at $1.4 million, to the Peconic Land Trust for open space purposes.

The deal is part of the company’s effort to determine the future use of its surplus properties worldwide. Exxon Mobil officials have said the Peconic Land Trust was chosen to take title to the Greenport site because of its commitment to environmental conservation. The site will be used for passive recreation.

The Southold Town Board has unanimously approved a conservation easement application, on which the Greenport Village Board is expected to hold a public hearing.

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