Next phase of Diaz cleanup in Holley will cost $20 million

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 6 March 2020 at 11:43 am

HOLLEY – The federal Environmental Protection Agency will soon be mobilizing  crews in Holley for phase 2 of the cleanup at the former Diaz Chemical site on Jackson Street.

The EPA has already spent $12.5 million on the cleanup, using money from the Superfund. The EPA has removed 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 next phase – thermal treatment of contaminated soil and groundwater at the site – will cost $20 million, the EPA said.

Because there are no viable responsible parties, Superfund covers the costs of the investigation and cleanup of the site, the agency said.

The EPA has been working on cleaning up the site for nearly 20 years.

“EPA has been unable to recover any funds from Diaz as a result of its filing for bankruptcy,” said Mary Gladkowski, spokeswoman for the EPA. “However, EPA has the funding for the entire phase two thermal treatment remedy in place. This phase of the cleanup will be operational by the winter of 2021 and is projected to take four to five years to complete with site restoration to follow.”

With phase 2, the EPA will 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 until it has been treated to remove the contaminants. 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 last month.

John DiMartino, EPA remedial project manager, and Travis Young, a project manager with the Army Corps of Engineers, said some work could start this month, 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.

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