Environmental test results released on Hagerstown's previously eyed stadium site

March 28, 2013|By C.J. LOVELACE |
  • The proposed site of a new stadium for the Hagerstown Suns is north of West Baltimore Street, at lower left, and east of Summit Avenue.
File photo

Phase II environmental tests of Hagerstown’s previously eyed site for a new downtown stadium revealed concentrations of several contaminants above Maryland Department of the Environment cleanup standards, according to the report released by the city this week.

The findings in the study by Triad Engineering Inc. of Hagerstown might have affected the cost of redeveloping the site if it were still under consideration for the construction of a stadium. However, City Engineer Rodney Tissue said Thursday that there is no immediate need for the property owners to mitigate the contaminants because the city’s self-contained public water system serves the area.

“From what I understand from (Triad), there’s no issues unless someone decides to redevelop,” Tissue said Thursday.

A total of 26 soil borings were taken from the 7.5-acre site, located near the corner of West Baltimore Street and Summit Avenue, resulting in the collection of 22 soil samples and three groundwater samples taken in 2012, the report states.


Soil samples contained concentrations of arsenic, diesel components and total petroleum hydrocarbons (TPH) above MDE standards, according to the report. The report also showed unfiltered groundwater samples containing elevated levels of arsenic, benzene, beryllium, chromium, diesel components, lead, mercury, naphthalene, nickel and TPH, all above MDE standards.

“There’s nothing there that was really surprising when you consider there were two gas stations, a dry cleaner and a railroad yard there,” Tissue said. “It’s all things that are consistent with the history of that site.”

The total area of the study encompassed about 25,000 square feet.

In that area, an estimated 298,992 cubic feet of soil was determined to potentially require remedial action, costing between $290,000 to $320,000, the report concludes, although that estimate does not include costs for excavation, backfilling, transportation, environmental oversight and sampling to complete the task.

“Additionally, a toxicity characteristic leaching procedure test would be required for disposal to characterize the material as hazardous or non-hazardous,” the report states. “If the material for disposal is determined to be hazardous, the cost for disposal could double.”

When asked about his first impression of the report, City Councilman Kristin B. Aleshire said it “certainly” didn’t look positive, pointing out numerous “cost unknowns” with the various materials found on the site.

Aleshire also said he had significant concerns with contaminated groundwater being found at a shallow depth, as little as about 7 feet below ground level.

“I think that this confirms my position before the election that I needed real information to make an intelligent decision” on the downtown stadium proposal, Aleshire said.

Tissue said the city had budgeted about $500,000 for environmental remediation in its preliminary funding model for the downtown stadium project, but the actual cost would be hard to quantify without a firm design.

“If you took the stadium and instead of digging it down, you built it up, you probably wouldn’t have a lot of anything,” he said. “But (if you dig down) ... you may have to do a lot more.

“So $500,000, it may or may not have been enough,” Tissue said.

MDE has regulatory authority over the properties examined, which includes a large portion of The Herald-Mail’s parking lot, D&P Coin-op Laundry, a Washington County building and parking lot, Baltimore Street Station Car Wash and Antietam Paper Co.

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