EPA praises TS&T cleanup

CHESTER – A top U.S. Environmental Protection Agency official has praised the cleanup of the old Taylor, Smith & Taylor pottery site, calling it a case study in brownfields reclamation. EPA Regional Administrator Shawn M. Garvin made his remarks during the recent West Virginia Brownfields Conference in Huntington. “I can't overstate the importance of brownfields restoration,” Garvin said, “which is spurring economic development, revitalizing communities and protecting people's health and our environment here in West Virginia … .” Article Photos   Garvin said projects such as the TS&T site cleanup can set an example for the cleanup of other brownfield properties in the state. Since 1997, the EPA has awarded more than $18 million in funding toward brownfield projects statewide. At the Huntington conference, Garvin announced yet another round of funding – $1.32 million in grants to six West Virginia communities, including Chester. Officials with the Business Development Corporation of the Northern Panhandle learned about the grant last month. BDC Executive Director Patrick Ford said the $70,000 award to the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection will be used to do a Phase II environmental assessment of the TS&T riverbank and prepare a remediation plan. “We're very excited to have the DEP as a partner in all our West Virginia brownfields projects,” Ford said. Because of state procurement procedures, the BDC is still about a month away from being able to solicit letters of interest from contractors who can do the environmental assessment, he said. The Phase II assessment involves taking soil and water samples and testing them for lead and other contaminants. The Ohio River shoreline where TS&T operated until 1981 is known to be contaminated with lead from old pottery shards. Ford said the remediation plan and cost estimate will be used to apply for an EPA cleanup grant this fall. If the grant is awarded, cleanup of the riverbank could begin as early as next summer, he said. Officials also want to prepare a master plan of the site, which will allow the BDC to better market the property to interested prospects, Ford said. A grant from the Pittsburgh-based Claude Worthington Benedum Foundation is being used for the development of a master plan that includes site planning, pedestrian connections and access to the Ohio River and state Route 2. “(Garvin) says he's really anxious to be here for a groundbreaking,” Ford said. In his opening remarks at the Huntington conference, Garvin spoke of his commitment to the Chester project and recalled how, in 2012, the EPA awarded the BDC $200,000 for the TS&T demolition. The demolition and asbestos removal was completed in December 2012. – See more at: http://weirtondailytimes.com/page/content.detail/id/623313/EPA–praises-TS-T-cleanup.html#sthash.pTli2TZt.dpuf;