BATH — The city will use a $200,000 U.S. Environmental Protection Agency grant to assess petroleum contamination.

“We have some sites that we’ve identified as potential sites,” said Al Smith, Bath’s community development director, adding that owners of those sites would have to agree for the assessment to take place.

Smith said the city has some money in its revolving loan fund to help property owners pay for cleanups in places where petroleum pollution was found. The grant money comes from funds from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009.

“All that leads to a property owner really being clear about the property,” Smith explained, adding that “if it’s all cleaned up, then you get a certificate of no additional liability, so that’s pretty valuable. And it allows for the site to be redeveloped.”

The sites are primarily commercial in nature, such as gas stations or places where a previous use involved petroleum products. Smith said there are a few sites along Route 1 that could fit that bill, as well one downtown at the old Exxon station along Centre Street.

Smith said the city may contact property owners of potential sites directly to discuss the assessment project, or present the matter more widely in a public forum.

The assessment will be conducted in two phases. The first will be to check the uses of a property that have occurred over time and, if that check warrants further analysis, the second would involve on-site testing.

“We should be going later in the summer,” Smith said. “That’s the plan.”

Alex Lear can be reached at 373-9060 ext. 113 or [email protected].

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