Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Update on the Giant Development Project and Soil Contamination

Here is an update on the contaminated soil found at the location where Giant will be building a modern supermarket and residential/retail complex.  This update was posted earlier today by ANC Commissioner Nancy MacWood on our companion email list, the Cleveland Park Listserv.  You can read our earlier article about the contaminated soil found at the Wisconsin Avenue and Newark Street site here

As many people have heard, Giant has filed an application with the District Dept. of the Environment to participate in its Voluntary Cleanup Program ("VCP"). Why? Boring samples at the site revealed that there are dry cleaning related fluids in the ground on the Newark Street side of north block. This is apparently not unusual but it does require the soil underneath the building to be removed according to prescribed standards. Once the buildings are demolished and excavation begins, there will be trained officials on site to measure the dirt as it is excavated. If the measurements require, the soil will be contained and disposed of according the EPA standards. Any dirt that is placed in open trucks (with covers) will not be contaminated.

There is also some petroleum residue in the north block from an old underground fuel tank that was removed earlier. The process for removing the soil that has this contamination will be similar. It is possible that there could be a discernible gasoline smell for a few days during excavation. I am told that this is not dangerous and that it will be gone within days.

At this point, DDOE has asked Giant to do some more boring sampling. When that is completed, Giant will develop a Clean Up Action Plan that will be reviewed by DDOE. When the clean up is complete, there will be additional sampling to determine that all contaminated soil has been removed. Giant will submit a closure report and if its findings are verified DDOE will issue a Certificate of Completion. At each stage of this process, the receipt of submissions will be noticed in the D.C. Register and to the ANC for comment.

The DC law requiring the clean up has been in effect since 2002. There have been approximately 20 clean ups with the baseball stadium requiring the largest clean up.

The above information is based on a conversation I had with the chief of the Land Remediation and Development Branch of DDOE.

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