The Portsmouth water filtration plant in Sciotoville/New Boston is getting to the end of its useful life, and now the city is taking action to build a new facility on adjacent property, but that will mean a brownfield study first before any action can be taken. On Monday night, Portsmouth City Council passed an ordinance authorizing the city manager to enter into an agreement with Brownfield Restoration Group to conduct a Voluntary Action Program (VAP) Phase II assessment and No Further Action document in an amount not to exceed $98,579.50.
Brownfield is a term used in urban planning to describe land previously used for industrial purposes or some commercial uses. Such land may have been contaminated with hazardous waste or pollution or is feared to be so. Once cleaned up, such an area can become host to a business development such as a retail park. No Further Action is when a certified professional believes that a property has been investigated and, if necessary, cleaned up to the standards contained in the VAP.
“This is to document contamination levels that we have to document. It puts a baseline so that we can say that contamination was there before we ever acquired it, and thus, we’re not responsible,” Portsmouth City Manager Derek K. Allen said. “Without it we could be sued for any harm or contamination in any of the parcels.”
After the meeting, Jason Kester, director of the Southern Ohio Port Authority (SOPA) talked with The Daily Times about the imperative nature of that action. He said the property being considered was contaminated when a coke plant was located on that site.
“It has been tested and has a number of EPA folks that monitor it,” Kester said. “So it has been determined to be contaminated and before you can do the filtration plant you have to clean it up to a certain standard. So this is the second of four or five steps.”
Kester said there is a definite plan in place for when all necessary action is taken.
“We’re going to need to build a new one (water filtration plant),” Kester said. “So this is part of the planning to get ready the next two to three to fours years to build the new plant. We’ve just got to have sufficient property to do it. It’s going to go where the parking area is now behind the filtration plant and this would be additional space for the new building, plus the new lay down gravel area.”
Kester said right now the lines coming into the intake plant go right under some more contaminated property and the city is going to try to make the design to where it re-routes those lines from that heavily contaminated property. He said, Strand (Associates, Inc.) is currently doing some preliminary engineering estimates to determine an actual price of the project.
Reach Frank Lewis at 740-353-3101, ext. 1928, or on Twitter @franklewis.