The needler in the haystack.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

South Avenue contamination: More questions on Council agenda

Property on South Avenue was demolished in August/September 2007.

A nice parcel for development could be put together from the city-owned site
plus the corner property and the vacant lots on East 6th Street.

It's been more than four years since Plainfield Mayor Sharon Robinson-Briggs' administration used a state demolition loan program to fund demolition of buildings in the 500-block of South Avenue, adjacent to Disco Aluminum.

At the time, there were whiffs of irregularity about the conduct of the project. Was there asbestos needing abatement? Were surrounding property owners (especially of East 6th Street residences abutting the southern property line) properly noticed of hazardous conditions? Was contamination from automobile oil change grease pits on the site properly remediated per DEP regulations?

Two photos of the demolition in progress, September 2, 2007. Landfill was subsequently trucked in
and dumped in the southwest corner, behind the pile of rubble.

And what about loads of fill that were dumped in the southeast corner of the property AFTER the demolition? Who brought it in and where did it come from? Was it certified non-contaminated?

These and many other questions have come back to mind after I noticed TWO RESOLUTIONS proposed by DPWUD on last week's Council agenda.

One resolution (Z3) was to authorize a change order in the amount of $2,260 to the Whitman Company Inc. for 'additional site investigation'. As the backup was not available before the meeting, the details of what is being looked at were not clear.

The other resolution (Z2) involved the City and the removal of an underground storage tank (UST) on an adjacent, privately-owned property (534 South Avenue, corner of Scott Place). Again, no backup info was available before the Council meeting.

However, the Robinson-Briggs administration withdrew the resolution from consideration when it came up. Did it have anything to do with my questioning it in a blog post (see here).

Interestingly, an anonymous commenter on that post said --

Anonymous said...
    Regarding the private property clean up on Scott and South Avenue. The City is now involved with the EPA to study the clean up of what is known as the Disco Aluminun site. The property on the corner though privately owed is a known contaninated site. This is a precausionary proceedure it insure that the private site does not continue to leach petroleum based contaninates into a redevelopment site that is being cleaned up by the Feds.
    November 14, 2011 1:22 PM
This person seems familiar with the site situation, but the comment raises yet other questions: If the original demolition and site cleanup were okey-dokey, why is the EPA involved in 'study[ing] the clean up of...the Disco Aluminum site'?

And, why hasn't the privately-owned property on the corner of Scott and South been condemned and taken? Along with the vacant lots on East 6th Street and Scott Place a decent-sized redevelopment parcel could be assembled.

And lastly, should the City be spending money investigating remediation issues at the Disco Aluminum site without pursuing contractors involved with the demolition and landfill in the first place?

So many questions, so little time...

-- Dan Damon [follow]

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Bob said...

When Sharon is involved, there are always more questions than answers.

Anonymous said...

EPA is involved with the study of the Disco Aluminum site. As you are aware the City of Plainfield was awarded additional grants from the Feds to study hazardous material and petroleum contaminated sites. These grants have nothing to do with the demoliation of the structures.

Anonymous said...

I'm pretty sure that Greater Plainfield Habitat would love to get the lots on E.6th St. to build houses along with the four already built on the opposite corner. Of course, they would need to be certified habitable before putting families there.

Anonymous said...

I hear the the person who did the demolition was an X con and political friend of Jerry Green. He did not do the demolition properly! Maybe thats also on the FBI'S list of things to investigate.