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Avtex plant area cleanup completed

By Kaitlin Mayhew -- kmayhew@nvdaily.com

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.


Boy, I wish I was a spy watching those closed session EDA meetings while they figure out who gets a juicy piece of the redevelopment action. If I lacked any political ethics I could make a small fortune with all that insider knowledge. What? The insider spy job is already taken?

The community as whole needs to watch the EDA carefully. Especially the Town of Front Royal Citizens. What we do not need is another strip mall. We have a total of four of them!! I really hope the EDA will go out of their way to find to bring real business opportunities to that area that will bring real high tech and high paying jobs to the area. Jobs that will allow some of our hard working citizens who spend anywhere from 1.5 hours to 3 hours on the road a day to return home to Front Royal to work and make a decent living. Now that is something that the EDA should really shoot for. Not only will it be good for the citizens coming back home to work but it will also be good for the enviroment as well.

Which member of the Good Old Boy Club will soon find himself in the right place at the right time holding property now suddenly and desperately needed for some new roadway to service the Royal Phoenix site? Could that Good Old Boy say windfall profits without cracking a Cheshire Cat smile?

Which members of the Good Old Boy Club will soon find themselves getting their skids greased in exchange for facilitating local government acceptance of some yet-to-be-identified out of town business with a development proposal?

Worse still, which of the Good Old Boys will be first in line with his own development proposal to entice Councilmen and Supervisors to fall all over themselves in their eagerness to accommodate with generous dollops of public funds, tax credits, and/or other economic incentives to sweeten the pot?

In either development scenario, free money is hard to turn down. In these tough economic times that border on recession, forget sweetening the pot else the Tea Baggers will get you.

Trust me the Goood Boy Club will mess this up!!!

Remember the solar plant......

Ahhh... I take it you've lived in this area awhile then, so are familiar with the way things work? LOL

Not exclusive to this particular area, unfortunately. This sort of thing is part of human nature.

It's the same selfish urge that lead to the debt crisis in Washington, the global financial collapse, and of course to the massive starvation in Somalia, as the political/military leaders there steal the food sent to help the populace. When you consider the selfish gains in our area, the making of money for personal wealth seems penny-ante in comparison, but really stems the same source.

Perhaps if our public "leaders" (members of the Good Old Boy Club) were to realize that their selfishness stems from the same source as that which leads to the death of millions elsewhere, they'll wake up and focus their energies on taking care of their constituents....

Naw.... it'll never happen. :-P

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