Agreement signed on Koppers cleanup
Published: Monday, February 11, 2013 at 6:29 p.m.
Last Modified: Monday, February 11, 2013 at 6:29 p.m.
The decades-long negotiations on the cleanup of the contaminated Koppers Superfund site have taken a significant step forward.
Thursday, the legal agreement between the federal government and Beazer East Inc. on the remediation of the former wood treatment plant was filed in federal court.
That comes about 30 years after the Cabot-Koppers property, located off Northwest 23rd Avenue a short distance east of Northwest Sixth Street, was placed on the federal Superfund priority list.
It also comes about two years after the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency issued its final record of decision detailing the cleanup requirements.
The consent decree lodged last week in federal court is the legal document that binds Beazer East, the firm legally responsible for the cleanup of the Koppers property and polluted off-site soils, to the requirements in the EPA record of decision, said Mitchell Brourman, who manages the remediation of contaminated sites for Beazer East.
Beazer East signed off on the document in October, but the EPA and the Department of Justice still had to review and approve it.
Alachua County Environmental Protection Director Chris Bird described the filing of the consent decree as a “major milestone” in the long process.
It was not the last step. Public notice of the consent decree will be published in the Federal Register and likely The Sun sometime next week, Scott Miller, the EPA project manager for the site, wrote in an email sent out Monday afternoon.
That notice will start a 30-day window for public comment. The EPA and DOJ then will have the opportunity to provide responses to those comments to the federal judge who will decide whether to approve the consent decree. That judge will have the option of scheduling a court hearing on the consent decree, Miller wrote.
Brourman said Beazer East still has to do design work on the remediation and get legal access agreements for properties with contaminated soils. On those properties, 6 to 12 inches of soil will be removed and replaced. Brourman said he expected it will be about a year before work begins.
The estimated $90 million project will include the cleanup of off-site soils to the state of Florida’s more stringent standard for dioxin, a carcinogen released from several sources, including the wood-treatment processes used at Koppers.
Most of the off-site work will focus on residential properties in the area of the Stephen Foster Neighborhood west of Koppers to Northwest Sixth Street and north to Northwest 32nd Avenue.
Contaminated soils from those properties and from areas of the Koppers property will be contained and stored on the Koppers site.
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