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Rainy Weather Slows Cleanup in Stephen Foster Neighborhood


Wetter than average weather has caused delays for crews from a private company working with the Environmental Protection Agency to remove contaminated soil from yards in Gainesville’s Stephen Foster neighborhood.

Recent rain in the area has been a concern for the project, and Scott Miller, EPA remedial project manager, says that the rain has affected the project schedule.

“It has slowed down remediation a bit, but the thing they’ve done to mitigate — that is they’re now running two crews simultaneously,” said Miller.

The neighborhood was the site of a former wood-treatment plant that spent 30 years on the federal government’s list of polluted sites. The contaminated soil will be removed from the neighborhood in trucks and moved to a containment site designated by the EPA, Koppers, which covers 90 acres in Gainesville. The soil will be placed below ground level and maintained.

Other issues involving the rain haven’t come up, but Miller adds that one of the main problems associated with the project is the size of it and trying to communicate with everyone so the project can be completed.

“The primary issues are logistics that are associated with an operation of this scale, but things have been running smoothly,” he said. “There’s a lot of folks, a lot of moving parts there.”

There have been complaints from residents around the area where the project is being done, most of them centered around the amount of dust being blown into the air. Miller says the crew is taking steps so residents will not be affected.

“There’s a couple things that are being done,” said Miller. “One thing is that particulate matter monitoring is taking place through four monitors at the locations where they’re actually doing work in addition, so we know what the dust levels are.”

Miller also adds the private company has been putting water in roads and yards to alleviate the dust problem.

“In addition, the private company that is doing the cleanup is continuously running a water truck to not only water the yards where there is work being done, but also water the site and water roads nearby,” said Miller.

Miller says there haven’t been other exposures around the site.

“Naturally, there are concerns about any sort of exposures taking place, and that’s why there is a number of mitigations systems in place addressing the soil layer on, as well as off, site as it relates to other potential exposures, there’s none that we are aware of at this time.

The project, which will affect 80 homes, began in March and is expected to be completed during the summer.

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