Lenoir Car Works site set to undergo remediation for lead
Jeremy Styron | News-Herald
This is one gate leading to the former Lenoir Car Works site that runs parallel to Broadway Street in Lenoir City. The 100-acre site, which is owned by Norfolk Southern, is undergoing a cleaning process to isolate any lead or other materials that may still exist on the property. Once the cleaning process is completed by the end of 2014, local officials plan to market the site for commercial use.
The property that has largely sat dormant for a little less than 50 years after a steel foundry shuttered its doors in the early 1960s will undergo further soil remediation to isolate any potentially hazardous materials on the site and prepare the location for a future industrial use.
The site, which formerly housed Lenoir Car Works, consists of about 100 acres owned by Norfolk Southern. Between 60-80 acres will be available for commercial use once the cleaning process is complete.
Susan Terpay, director of public relations with Norfolk Southern, said in an emailed statement the remediation process involves removing "foundry sand and slag" from the site and consolidating the material into a 15-acre plot of land that will be located onsite.
"The materials will be sealed with a protective engineered cap of clay and soil about 2-feet thick (similar to a landfill cap but more protective)," Terpay said in the statement. "The consolidation area will be fenced to prevent trespassing, and NS will maintain the cap long term."
Loudon County Economic Development Agency Executive Director Pat Phillips said officials would seek grant money to help fund the cost of moving a water line off the site. The water line had caused some delays in the project.
"The line has to be removed in order to clean the soil around it, so that's one of the delays," Phillips said.
Lenoir City Utility Board on Monday approved the submission of an Economic Development Administration grant to relocate the water line from the property to C Street in Lenoir City.
Phillips said Norfolk began cleaning a 15-acre parcel along a portion of the site to the east this past summer. Upcoming remediation will be focused on the larger tract to the west.
Remediation on the smaller piece of land was completed in October, according to the statement from Norfolk.
"Safety and environmental protection measures, as required by the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation, were taken to protect adjacent properties and businesses, and will be followed again during remediation of the remaining 85 acres," Terpay wrote in the email.
A report from the Tennessee Department of Health in 2009 showed that blood lead screenings were conducted in April and June 2008 at the War Memorial Building in Lenoir City, with the purpose of testing individuals who live near the former Lenoir Car Works site. Blood samples were taken from 17 women and children. Results from 14 children and three pregnant women indicated that micrograms per deciliter lead levels ranged from one to six.
According to the Centers for Disease Control, a level of 10 or higher would raise a red flag with health care professionals.
Terpay said Norfolk is working with the Tennessee Department of Conservation on a remediation plan that will meet state requirements. Once a plan is approved, the cleaning is expected to resume in spring 2013 and be completed by 2014.
She said the company was taking measures to prevent any materials from leaching off the property.
"During the remediation none of the sand and slag will be transported off the site," she said. "Dust levels will be monitored daily. The trucks and equipment at the site will be washed before leaving the property, and the roads at the work site will be wetted to suppress any dust."
Eddie Simpson, a member of the Lenoir City Utilities Board, said that after earlier testing was completed, no contamination was found offsite.
"Lead is known not to leach, and I think that's an important thing because if it doesn't leach, it doesn't get into water sources outside of the site," Simpson said. "So, there was supposedly no leaching offsite with all the testing they did."
Simpson said the only restriction placed on the property is that when the cleaning is complete, it would be marketed for rail service.
"That's OK because there's a lot of companies out there that love the rail because that's the cheapest way you can transport," Simpson said.