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City to hold hearing on Superfund site

May 16, 2003|by SCOTT BUTKI

City of Hagerstown officials are encouraging residents to attend a May 22 public hearing on a recommendation to reuse Central Chemical's contaminated 19-acre property in Hagerstown's West End as an office park or for light industry after the property is cleaned up.

A citizens land-use committee made that recommendation at its April 24 meeting.

After the recommendations have been presented and the situation explained, the public will have a chance to comment and ask questions.

The EPA in 1997 put the property off Mitchell Avenue on the Environmental Protection Agency's Superfund list of the country's most hazardous waste sites.

In deciding what land uses to recommend, committee members said they followed some guidelines and criteria, including selecting a use that brings tax revenue and job creation, enhances the city and is not a nuisance to the area.

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The committee will submit its suggestions to the City of Hagerstown and the Environmental Protection Agency, which will determine whether the recommended use is realistic and feasible.

The reuse would come after the property is cleaned up and made safe, committee members say.

Committee members said they would like some of the property to include a buffer, such as walking trails and vegetation.

Sixteen businesses identified as "potentially responsible parties" will have to pay for the cleanup of the industrial-zoned property and the EPA's work on the project, EPA spokesman Pat Gaughan has said.

According to the EPA, from the 1930s through the mid-1980s, Central Chemical blended agricultural pesticides and fertilizers, creating waste and byproducts that allegedly were disposed of in an old stone quarry on the property and in a sinkhole.

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