News From Terre Haute, Indiana

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June 4, 2014

One final inspection

City, state officials look over cleaned-up site

TERRE HAUTE — It was called a final inspection, but it was really more like a victory lap.

State and city officials walked the perimiter of the former Terre Haute Coke and Carbon brownfield site at 13th and Hulman streets Tuesday afternoon. They were joined by officials from Weaver Boos Consultants and HIS Constructors, two Indiana-based companies that did the actual work.

At the end of the inspection, which took about 45 minutes, the year-long, $7 million cleanup was declared a success. Only a few minor fixes remain, said Brad Utz, the city’s construction manager for the project. Those fixes – which include removing some debris and repairing tears in temporary silt fencing – will take about one day, officials said.

“All in all, they did a really good job,” Utz said.

The next step will be for the Terre Haute Department of Redevelopment to put the property on the market for industrial or commercial uses, said Pat Martin, city planner.

“We’re open for business,” Martin said.

The cleanup, which started last spring, removed thousands of truckloads of contaminated earth from the site and replaced it with fresh, clean dirt over a 20-acre area in the shape of an “L.” In all, about 135,000 tons of contaminated earth was removed and as much trucked in to replace it, officials said. The sandy ground is now planted with grass seed and covered with straw to help it grow.

About a dozen truck drivers were needed to haul soil to-and-from the site, said Fred Arvin with HIS Constructors. Contaminated soil was trucked to the Sycamore Ridge landfill in southern Vigo County.

Late in 2012, the Terre Haute Sanitary Board awarded the cleanup to HIS Constructors of Indianapolis for $2.7 million. Another $2.6 million was expected to be paid in disposal fees to Republic Services. The project took longer and cost more than expected because of rubble and other debris discovered in the earth, Martin said. In some areas, excavators dug down as much as 10 feet. In other areas, just a few feet, he said.

While the site had more contamination than expected, Martin said, it was “one of the least-contaminated coke plants I’ve seen,” said Steve Stanford, senior project manager with Weaver Boos.

The new soil came from near the U.S. federal prison in Terre Haute, Martin said. It was certified to meet or exceed standards for commercial and industrial property, he said.

Environmental testing, which started at the site more than a decade ago, discovered high levels of lead, benzo(a)pyrene, naphthalene, toluene and arsenic – all contaminates associated with coke production – in the soil. Over the years, the city of Terre Haute obtained ownership of the property and initiated a series of environmental studies, using a combination of federal, state and local funding.

The money for the cleanup came through a $150 million bond issue to improve the city’s wastewater treatment plant. By incorporating the brownfield cleanup in the bond issue, the city received a 0.5 percent reduction in its interest rate on the bond from the Indiana Finance Authority, essentially saving the same amount of the project’s cost, city officials said.

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