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Cleanup continues at Wal-Mart site

December 23, 2006|by MATTHEW UMSTEAD

West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection officials this week confirmed that active groundwater cleanup still is ongoing near the proposed site of a Wal-Mart Supercenter in northern Berkeley County, but noted that didn't necessarily mean redevelopment couldn't continue.

"Many times, developments can continue to occur around (a cleanup site)," said Don Martin, assistant director of the DEP's Division of Land Restoration.

The cleanup of a fuel island at what was known as the Martinsburg Travel Center truck stop "appears very close to being completed," said Martin, adding the results of groundwater samples taken this month might help resolve the agency's concerns.

Martin said soil tainted by a fuel leak already had been removed from the site of concern to the DEP. The site, where eight fuel storage tanks were removed, was estimated to be less than an acre. The tanks leaked three times - in 1993, 1999 and 2003, according to records.

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Residents attending a Berkeley County Planning Commission public hearing Monday about the Wal-Mart project off W.Va. 901 near Interstate 81 suggested that not all of the necessary approvals were obtained from DEP officials.

Berkeley County Planning Director Stefanie Allemong clarified Thursday that the developer only would need DEP approval upon proceeding with final plat submission

Allemong also said it was her understanding that the contaminated site was not part of the area where the developer was planning to construct the Wal-Mart, which could open as early as 2008, officials have said.

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