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Cleanup plan for Central Chemical site proposed

July 20, 2007|by ANDREW SCHOTZ

HAGERSTOWN - A group of companies considered "potentially responsible" for the contamination of the former Central Chemical site have picked a $12.9 million plan for cleaning up the soil.

The plan is just a recommendation for now. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency will have the final say on the plan, said Bill Murray of URS Corp., an engineering firm overseeing the project.

On Thursday, Murray also told a community panel monitoring the cleanup effort that another round of water tests will be done at the end of the year.

A separate remediation plan is expected for the water.

Central Chemical was a pesticide and fertilizer company. The Mitchell Avenue plant closed in the mid-1980s, leaving pesticides and metals that were dumped in the soil and groundwater.

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It is a federal Superfund waste site.

Thirteen "potentially responsible parties," companies that used the plant by contract, are paying the cost of the cleanup, Murray said.

The potentially responsible parties reviewed five remediation options. They picked a plan that, according to a summary sheet, involves removing building slabs, excavating shallow contaminated soils, covering a former lagoon, installing a groundwater recovery system and monitoring groundwater for five years.

Murray said a tentlike structure about 250 feet wide and about 60 feet high, but made up of panels and an aluminum frame, would be put over the site while remediation work was done on the soil.

The cost of that option is about $12.9 million, according to a chart distributed Thursday.

The least expensive choice was taking no further remediation action, at a cost of $201,000. Panel members agreed Thursday that that choice shouldn't be considered.

A plan to remove soil for treatment and disposal and to monitor groundwater for 10 years was the most costly, at $43.6 million.

There are 15 monitoring wells on the site of the former Central Chemical plant and 18 other wells near the site, Murray said.

The next round of water tests is scheduled for this winter.

Mitch Cron of the EPA said his agency would announce in September 2008 the final choice for cleaning up the soil.

A decision on the groundwater cleanup would come later.

The Central Chemical Community Liaison Panel plans to have its next meeting early next year.

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