DVTA begins cleanup of old barnboard factory site, meeting set
Nov 29, 2012 | 1793 views | 0 0 comments | 11 11 recommendations | email to a friend | print
A mill worker at the former barnboard factory in Wilmington.
A mill worker at the former barnboard factory in Wilmington.
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WILMINGTON- The Deerfield Valley Transit Association is continuing to move forward on construction of its transportation center at a former factory site just west of the village. The DVTA is working closely with local, state, and federal officials to design and execute a soil contamination remediation plan as part of its plan to build the new transit facility on its 45 Mill Street property. The site has been studied many times since 1995 to discern hazards as a result of 75 years of heavy industrial use. Six companies manufactured products from motorcycles to barnboard siding, beginning in 1914, and they disposed of byproducts throughout the 9.5-acre site.

The DVTA is holding a public meeting on Tuesday, December 11, at 6 pm at its garage at 45 Mill Street to present an overview of the process and answer questions.

In 2003 a Phase II environmental study identified many areas of concern which the DVTA addressed. The DVTA spent $138,159 of its own funds and an additional $155,055 of federal funds to remediate all identified hazards from the 2003 study, and to tear down and remove almost 60,000 square feet of the original 82,000-square-foot factory. Soil contamination was identified in the study, but levels were acceptable for 2003 standards.

In 2012 the Vermont Department of Environmental Conservation read the 2003 study for the first time as part of the DVTA’s loan application process. The DEC applied 2012 standards to the 2003 test results and found that, in scattered locations, the contamination levels, if still present, would be above 2012 acceptable industrial site levels. They called for a new Phase II Environmental Assessment Study. The DVTA procured qualified consultants through the Windham Regional Commission’s Brownfields program.

The EAS draft is still being analyzed by the DEC. In 11 of 18 test areas arsenic is above current acceptable industrial levels. Had the contamination been a substantial threat to public health and safety, additional testing of groundwater would have been ordered by the DEC, but they declined based on the test results which showed that no such greater threat exists.

The DVTA recently enrolled in the state’s highest level of remediation compliance: BRELLA (Brownfields Reuse & Environmental Liability Limitation Act). This program mandates the creation of several levels of planning, remediation, and public outreach. Pending successful completion of these three elements, the DVTA will be given a release that protects it from the risk of environmental liability for newly discovered contamination or changes in the regulatory scheme.  It also provides access to remediation grants and loans, and is a requirement of its local share of construction expenses for the new facility.

Last week the remediation planning began as factual data became available. The WRC, its consultant, the DEC, and the DVTA agreed on the technical, financial, and public outreach remediation processes. A Corrective Action Plan is underway based on two premises: that as much soil and material will be kept on the site to avoid or minimize costly removal expense; and that the entire site will be capped, either through concrete, pavement, a barrier, or approved soils and seeding. Much of the remediation is already planned as part of the new facility construction plan, while other areas will be modified to incorporate the remediation requirements. An Analysis of Brownfields Cleanup Alternatives will also be developed in order for the DVTA to apply for grants and low-interest remediation loans through the WRC.

The public will have 30 days to review the CAP and ABCA plans starting in late December. Upon review of the plans and the ensuing input, the DEC and WRC will edit and approve the respective plans. The DVTA will then proceed to closing on its construction loans and go out to bid for the project’s construction, which is expected to start April 1, and conclude by December 2013.

The process will address nearly 100 years of environmental concerns. The DVTA will have spent almost $5.5 million in cleaning up the site and revitalizing it. The site will be certified by the state for environmental compliance at the highest level.

For more information, questions, or comments contact Randy Schoonmaker, DVTA General Manager, at (802) 464-8487 or randys@moover.com.

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