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Firm submits plans to clean up 270 acres at industrial site

December 23, 2006|by MATTHEW UMSTEAD

MIDDLEWAY, W.Va. - The West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection announced Friday that Creo Manufacturing America LLC had submitted plans to clean up approximately 270 acres at a 60-year-old industrial site in Jefferson County.

It wasn't immediately clear Friday how long the cleanup might take, but DEP officials said the company, which is part of the Eastman Kodak Co., had applied to participate in the state's Voluntary Remediation and Redevelopment Program.

"This is something that has to be done before it can be sold to anybody," said Jane Peters, executive director of the Jefferson County Development Authority, who described the announcement as "a step forward" to redevelopment of the property.

DEP officials have determined through multiple environmental assessments that petroleum hydrocarbon constituents and solvent-based chemicals have affected certain areas of the property.

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Assessments of the soil below the surface have been performed, but any impact still has yet to be determined

"The appropriate potential cleanup method will be selected based upon results of the site assessment and a final report will be submitted ... for review to confirm that the work meets applicable remediation standards," DEP officials said.

DEP officials believe there is potential concern for certain chemicals being in groundwater, and suspect lead and other metals have affected a portion of the site used for a recreational shooting range.

Peters said the development authority would prefer one owner to ultimately revive the site, but theorized the magnitude of the property's size might give a developer reason to divide it up.

"Either way, I think it's going to be fine for the county," said Peters, who has talked with a couple of people about purchasing the property, which has all utilities on site, including natural gas service.

Peters said the property is listed with C.B. Richard Ellis, which promotes itself as a global leader in real estate services.

The 12-building site off Grace Street once was home to production of lithographic plates, titanium-coated wires and chemical blending before the company shut down operations in March, according to the DEP announcement.

Originally developed as a woolen company after being purchased in 1946, 3M became the owner in 1960 and converted it to a photographic equipment and supply facility, DEP officials said.

When Imation Enterprises purchased the property in 1996 from 3M, a small portion of the main building was leased back to 3M for the production of titanium-coated wire for use in the defense aircraft industry and was called the Metal Matrix Department, officials said.

In 1999, Imation sold the property to Spectratech Inc., which continued to run the lithographic plate process, and FMW, a subsidiary of the Atlantic Research Corp., took over the metal matrix operations,

Creo Manufacturing America LLC purchased the property in 2004, and Eastman Kodak bought the company in June 2005.

Lithographic plate production continued until March, and the metal matrix process was in operation until June, when FMW vacated the site.

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