EPA to begin next phase of Diaz cleanup, with focus on contaminated soil

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 12 February 2020 at 10:59 am

Photo by Tom Rivers: Travis Young, a project manager with the Army Corps of Engineers, goes over phase 2 of a remedial action plan at the former Diaz Chemical site in Holley.

HOLLEY – The federal Environmental Protection Agency will have a big presence the next few years in Holley as it works on phase 2 of a cleanup at the former Diaz Chemical site on Jackson Street.

The EPA has already spent $12.5 million at the Superfund Site, removing buildings, pipes, drums and tanks. Only two warehouses remain from Diaz, which declared bankruptcy and abandoned the site in 2002. The company operated for about 30 years in Holley.

The EPA will now tackle the contaminated soil on the 5-acre site. The soil poses a threat to the groundwater, EPA officials said.

The dirt can’t simply be carted off the premises right now. The EPA and a contractor will drill 600 wells, spaced about 13 to 15 feet apart, and install an underground system where the soil will be heated up. That will remove below-ground contaminates from soil.

Water vapors also will be collected and treated, and then filtered and discharged into the sewer.

Once the contaminant level drops in the soil, about 100 truckloads are expected to be hauled away to a landfill.

The EPA will have 100 truckloads of clean soil brought to the site. Project managers went over the work with the Holley Village Board on Tuesday.

John DiMartino, EPA remedial project manager, and Travis Young, a project manager with the Army Corps of Engineers, said some work could start in March, with contractors drilling test wells and crews starting to mobilize.

This summer soil will be excavated, with drilling and well installation. The first stage of the thermal treatment system will go in next winter through summer 2021. A second stage of drilling and well installation is planned for the spring-summer 2021 with the second stage of the thermal treatment system to be installed from winter 2021 to summer 2022.

A concrete cover is part of the project during the treatment stage. The concrete will be removed once the treatment is done.

The project will be substantially complete in the winter of 2023, according to the EPA timeline. A final layer of topsoil and grass will be added to complete the project.

Holley Mayor Brian Sorochty asked the project managers what the land could be used for when the EPA is complete with the 5-acre site.

“I believe we’ll leave you a site that is suitable for commercial development,” DiMartino told Village Board members on Tuesday. “That is the goal. That is the plan.”

The EPA is sensitive to neighbor concerns during the construction and operation of the project. There will be air monitoring on site during the drilling and construction. The contractor on the project also is limited to no more than 75 decibels of noise that can heard by neighbors, although Young said that could be a tough standard to meet when contractors are drilling close to property lines by Jackson Street. If the drilling is a nuisance, the contractor may be asked to try a different drilling technique.

The contractor will drill during regular business hours Monday through Friday, and also was given permission to work on Saturdays. Young said the contractor’s employees will likely be from out of state and they will want that extra work day on most weeks.

The EPA is working with village officials on a preferred truck route. That may be Van Buren Street, rather than the recently repaved Jackson Street.

The EPA said it will do a mailing soon with Holley residents, detailing the project.

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