CLARKSBURG, W.Va. — The North 25th Street Glass and Zinc site, now owned by Harrison Warehouse Services Company Inc., was listed on the National Priorities List of hazardous wastes sites, commonly referred to as Superfund sites, by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Thursday.
EPA first proposed the site to the list, which identifies the most serious sites for long-term cleanup, in April and opened a 60-day public comment period for interested members of the community to comment on the proposal.
“The public comment period for the North 25th Street Glass and Zinc Site closed on June 6,” said Roy Seneca, a spokesperson for the EPA’s Mid-Atlantic office in Philadelphia. “After reviewing the comments, which mainly supported listing the site, EPA determined that the site qualifies for cleanup under Superfund and it was formally listed” on the National Priorities List.
“It involves more than just the city of Clarksburg residents,” Bellotte said. “Once the cleanup is complete, that puts you in a better category for redevelopment because that hurdle of contamination has been rid, so your potential for future development is greater.”
However, Bellotte said getting on the National Priorities List is just another hurdle of the potential cleanup.
“It’s still a long process,” he said. “There’s no promise of a time frame, and I know we all get anxious about that. It’s still in the positive category.”
The major concern for the North 25th Street property is that the land parcels are located on the banks of the West Fork River, creating concern for contamination. The property was home to glass manufacturing from 1899 to 1989, and the Clarksburg Zinc Co. operated at the location from 1911 to 1924.
“Soils on the property, groundwater and sediments in the West Fork River are contaminated with lead, arsenic and zinc from the former glass and zinc manufacturing process,” Seneca said.
Currently owned by Harrison Warehouse Services Co. Inc., the site is being used as a storage area for recycled paper for a pulp facility and an automobile repair service. Part of the property is also leased to King’s Tire Services Inc., which sells tires and performs a variety of automobile repair services.
“A large zinc slag pile on-site contains lead, is accessible to the public, and is eroding into the West Fork River,” Seneca said. “The site also is accessible from a rails-to-trails bike path.”
The West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection requested EPA’s assistance in 2010, and EPA stabilized the area and capped it with an asphalt cover as a temporary measure to address immediate environmental threats.
As a National Priorities List site, the location is eligible for remedial action financed under the federal Superfund program.
“After a site is put on the NPL, the next step is a Remedial Investigation/Feasibility Study that involves an evaluation of the nature and extent of contamination at a site by assessing potential threats to human health and the environment,” Seneca said. “This stage of the process also includes evaluation of the potential performance and cost of the treatment options identified for a site.”
Seneca said the remedial investigation will begin shortly, and EPA expects to have personnel in the field within the next few months.
The eventual goal of the Superfund cleanup project is site reuse and redevelopment. Seneca said EPA will continue to keep the community informed and involved in developing a remedy that protects public health and the environment.