The wait continues for Luckey cleanup
Written by JORDAN CRAVENS Sentinel Staff Writer
Thursday, 26 July 2012 09:56
LUCKEY - Village residents wanting to pin down the start date for federal cleanup of a site contaminated with beryllium, lead and radiological materials were given a time line of "to be determined" on Wednesday.
|File photo. Abandoned factory at Luckey. (Photo: Aaron Carpenter/Sentinel-Tribune)
"Essentially, we have to wait until work is done on these other sites that are in the construction phase," said Jim Stachowski with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Buffalo District.
Stachowski spoke during an annual public information meeting updating village residents and other stakeholders on the status of "remedial action" or cleanup of the former site used to produce beryllium for the Atomic Energy Commission in the mid-1900s.
The site, located at the corner of Luckey and Gilbert Roads, has, for years, been on the federal cleanup list after the Army Corps determined it was contaminated.
This has left residents anxious for action.
"There is a significant amount of planning required prior to remedial action," Stachowski told those in attendance.
Dave Frothingham, also with the Army Corps, said there are two other projects the Buffalo District is wrapping up, one in Painesville and other in Buffalo.
That makes Luckey next in line, he said.
And while the Army Corps said cleanup is "to be determined," Frothingham said the agency is budgeting to start in 2014.
"That's still what we are anticipating," he said.
By the end of this year, the Army Corps plans to complete its plan for remedial action.
It also plans to finalize property access agreements. The 40-acre site is private property.
According to the Wood County Auditor's web site, the property is owned by Industrial Properties Recovery, out of Green Springs. Close to $70,000 in taxes are owed on the property.
It was only about three weeks ago, Stachowski said, they were able to make contact with the property owner.
Residents in attendance expressed concern over the demolition of an annex building on the property and where those demolition materials were taken.
It was the private property owner who had the annex torn down, officials said.
"As soon as someone found out what was going on, it was put to a halt," Stachowski said.
Brad Espen, director of environmental services for the Wood County Health Department asked if all funding for the project would be secured before remedial action begins.
Frothingham said funding is given on an annual basis and it is not likely the money would be fronted.
However, he assured those in attendance, "We have never run into a situation where we had to shut down the site completely because funding stopped."
Officials have tested all around the property and found contaminants in various locations including lagoons, a ditch and disposal areas.
In addition to the beryllium, an estimated 1,000 tons of radioactively contaminated scrap metal were delivered to the site in the 1950s in anticipation of resuming magnesium processing, which began in 1942. However, production never resumed.
As a result, lead, uranium, thorium and radium contaminants have been identified on the site.
Beryllium, Stachowski said has proven to be the largest and deepest contaminant.
But one area not yet tested is underneath the former production facility.
Linda Holmes, an assistant Wood County Prosecutor asked what happens if no contaminants are found underneath the dilapidated production facility.
"To be honest, this project has been delayed and these buildings have deteriorated to a point where they are a nuisance to the community," she said.
"Does it have to be contaminated to take it down," she asked.
"No," Frothingham replied.
Even without signs of contamination, Frothingham said the agency has the authority to take it down for health and safety reasons.
Also at the meeting, residents were again assured their groundwater has not been contaminated.
"We are actively monitoring ground water," Stachowski said.
Each year, they sample 17 to 23 wells.
"We didn't see any changes in the extent of the groundwater contamination," he said.
They have also tested the closest residential well.
"We have not seen contamination in that well," he said.
Last Updated on Thursday, 26 July 2012 10:09