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Central Chemical reuse plan presented

July 02, 2003|by SCOTT BUTKI

scottb@herald-mail.com

Members of a citizens land-use committee gave an oral report to the Hagerstown City Council on Tuesday on the committee's suggested reuse plans for a 19-acre property in Hagerstown's West End.

The committee's written reports on its recommendations on Central Chemical property off Mitchell Avenue recently were sent to the council and the federal Environmental Protection Agency.

"You have done a very good job and put in a lot of good effort," Councilwoman Carol Moller said following the presentation.

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Eric Newman, the EPA site remediation project manager, said during Tuesday's meeting that the excellent, well-organized report was being examined.

In 1997, the EPA put Central Chemical on its Superfund list of the country's most hazardous waste sites.

The committee of about 20 members is encouraging using the property, after the area is cleaned up, for a commercial office park or light industrial development.

Examples of light industrial uses are equipment repair, landscaping services, computer manufacturing and laboratories, the report said.

Examples of potential office parks are medical offices, engineering firms and photography studios, the report said.

Committee members Patti Divelbiss, Becky Orndorff, and others, explained portions of their findings and the resulting report to the council.

The EPA, which is investigating the extent of the contamination, will determine whether the recommended use is realistic and feasible. The study is expected to take about two years, EPA officials have said.

During an eight-month process, the committee, which includes government officials, the Central Chemical president, residents and members of nonprofit organizations, was given information about the site and its potential reuses.

After deciding at its April 24 meeting on its reuse recommendations, the committee held a public meeting to get input at its May 22 meeting - attended by about 35 people - and then finalized its recommendations and report at a June meeting.

About 15 businesses identified as "potentially responsible parties" will have to pay for the cleanup of the property and the EPA's work on the project, EPA officials have said.

According to the EPA, from the 1930s through the mid-1980s, Central Chemical blended agricultural pesticides and fertilizers, creating waste and byproducts the EPA alleges were disposed of in an old stone quarry on the property and in a sinkhole. Contaminants on the site include arsenic, lead, benzene, aldrin, chlordane, DDD, DDE, DDT, dieldrin and methoxychlor, the EPA says.

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