‘Coal tar’ contamination remediated
Patrick Malone of Malone Properties, Inc., filed an application April 24 to expand and rebuild the old Grossman’s Lumber property out by the Route 2 roundabout. First, though, longstanding land and water pollution had to be cleaned up.
The aging orange and white striped Grossman’s building was erected in 1966 and was vacated in the 1990s, according to records. From then until recently, the property had been used to store vehicles from a nearby automobile dealership and to store excess snow by the City of Montpelier. Before that, it was a coal gasification plant called Capital City Gas, from 1902 until 1949.
Soon, if all goes as planned, a liquid waste hauling company will call the site home, records state. The building development application asks for “major renovation” to the existing building with a “new tenant and new use.” Construction will cost approximately $1 million. The project proposes construction of a 7,883-square-foot addition, along with driveways, parking spaces, utilities, and landscaping, the application states. Owners will also construct a new wastewater system.
In a letter dated April 24 to Montpelier Zoning Administrator Meredith Crandall, Alicia Feiler of Malone Properties describes the proposed tenant as a liquid waste hauler, which would use the facility for multiple purposes. Although the company is a sewage hauler, sewage would neither be treated nor stored at the site. “Sewage is only stored on site within a truck when the truck has returned from a site during hours in which the sewage disposal facility is closed,” the letter states. There will be no anticipated customer traffic nor advertising signage. Also, there will be no access to the public by bicycle or sidewalk.
About 3,000 square-feet of the building would be used for office space, and the rest would be used to store and maintain vehicles and equipment. This will include mechanical work on company trucks. Anticipated hours of business are from around 6 am to 6 pm, but 24-hour emergency service could cause some off-hour activity.
The lot is in the “Eastern Gateway” zoning district along the river, and partially within the floodplain. The only work done within the floodplain, though, will be a “privacy fence” and electrical wiring for lighting, the developer says. Although wetlands and vernal pools exist on site, they will not be disturbed by the project.
As part of the application process, Malone Properties sent letters to Montpelier’s Fire Chief, Police Chief, Department of Public Works, and the Superintendent of Montpelier-Roxbury Public Schools. The letter to the school district suggested perhaps seven school children would come into the district as a result of the business relocating to the property.
Significant pollution on the site dates back over 100 years and had to be removed this past winter.
“Discharges of coal tar to the bank of the Winooski River have resulted in 145 cubic yards of coal tar situated in discontinuous masses along approximately 360 linear feet of the Winooski River’s western bank. During high water conditions, these wastes are inundated,” states a 2018 report titled “Evaluation of Corrective Action” by Montpelier-based Stone Environmental Corporation. Stone Environmental was retained by the property owner, 260 River Corporation LLC, in 2017, to perform a Phase II environmental site assessment paid for by state and private funding. Their assessment revealed that former gas production at that site “resulted in releases and improper disposal of coal gasification wastes, most notably, coal tar,” which was released directly onto the bank of the Winooski River. This resulted in soil, groundwater, sediment, and surface water contamination posing a risk to people’s health and to the ecosystem.
Stone Environmental reported cleanup work had been completed in December 2019, and “included excavating 700 tons of soil and river sediment contaminated by coal tar,” according to an email from Lee Rosberg, project geologist with Stone Environmental. The soil and sediment were stabilized and then disposed of at a landfill in Clinton County, New York. Liquids were treated onsite using a carbon filtration system,” and work “was completed in accordance with a Partial Corrective Action Plan,” which is available on the Vermont Agency of Natural Resources Atlas. Groundwater will continue to be monitored, and the company will work with the developer to manage contaminated soil during construction, Rosberg wrote.
The property is owned by 260 River Street, LLC, a subsidiary of Florida-based HMG/Courtland Investments, records state.
The permit application is scheduled to be discussed during the upcoming June 1 meeting of the Development Review Board. For more information, go to: https://www.montpelier-vt.org/1164/Pending-Applications-for-Public-Hearings .