By Kaitlin Mayhew -- firstname.lastname@example.org
FRONT ROYAL -- FMC Corp. completed its cleanup of about 160 acres of the Avtex Fibers Superfund site this week.
The completed portion is known as the "former plant area." The final report on the cleanup in this area will be delivered to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency by the end of the year.
"This is a momentous day," Jennifer McDonald, executive director of the Front Royal-Warren County Economic Development Authority, said in a news release. "It has been 12 long years of assessment, community stakeholder's meetings, public-private partnerships, design, demolition, removal, recycling, containment, testing, cleaning and reporting. We are almost at the finish line."
After the final report is received by the EPA, it will evaluate the work, and if all goes well, deliver a "letter of no further interest."
Once that is finalized, which McDonald estimated will be mid-2012, the EDA will be able to start the redevelopment process.
The Avtex Fibers Superfund Site was home to a rayon manufacturing plant from 1940 until 1989. The plant produced rayon, polypropylene and polyester. In 1989, the site was listed on the EPA Superfund program's National Priorities List, meaning it was in need of long-term remedial action. That was three years after FMC entered into a consent order with the EPA agreeing to perform a remedial investigation and feasibility study for a portion of the site.
Through the 1990s, FMC operated the wastewater treatment plant on site while the EPA performed numerous investigations.
Of three firms that operated the plant, only FMC remains in business. In 1999, a consent decree was signed by the EPA and FMC that assigned the work of remediating the 440-acre site to the FMC. The EDA took the title to the property in 2000.
Between 1999 and 2001, $22 million in federal and other funding was set aside for the demolition and rehabilitation of the site.
Remediation of the area involved decontamination and demolition of buildings; sewer plugging and removal, soil and groundwater remediation; wastewater treatment plant operation and more. The EDA also renovated the on-site administration building, which was completed in 2002.
"We are happy to have worked in such a cooperative partnership with the EDA, Town and County," said Marguerite Carpenter, associate director for environment at FMC.
Today, the 14,000-square-foot administration building is home to the EDA offices, Amerisist, the Shenandoah Center for Heritage and Environment and the Northern Shenandoah Valley Regional Planning Commission.
Thirty acres of land that was donated by FMC and EDA to Warren County Parks and Recreation for use as soccer fields. The space for a 15,000-square-foot skate park was also donated.
"When EPA completes its evaluation and issues the 'letter of no further interest,' we will be ready to begin the redevelopment process deploying infrastructure, finding the most appropriate users for the site and creating the jobs and tax base that are key to a healthy community," McDonald said.