Contractors paid from Georgia's Superfund program are evaluating the defunct Goldberg property off Gordon Highway for possible state-funded removal of scrap tires, metal and other debris.
Georgia's Environmental Protection Division, which oversees the fund, initially considered state action to remove only thousands of scrap tires from the former junkyard.
But EPD now intends to have its contractors prepare estimates for removing the tires and tons of scrap metal and other debris on the site, which is contaminated with arsenic, mercury, lead and PCBs.
"We're having the state contractors prepare cost estimates for the tires and for the other debris," said Merrill Frazier, senior environmental specialist with EPD's Hazardous Sites Response Program.
"We'll use that cost estimate to get with our solid waste people and scrap tire fund people," she said. "But we need to find out what we're dealing with first."
The tire removal has been estimated at $300,000 to $400,000, and removal of the scrap metal and other waste is likely to be more costly. Ms. Frazier was unsure when the estimates would be completed.
EPD also has taken steps to clean up small amounts of waste oil at the property, she said. Contaminated soil from that project is stockpiled at the site.
In a related development, the Augusta Brownfields Commission - formed to oversee a $200,000 federal grant to finance an environmental assessment of the site - chose an Augusta-based consultant for the project.
The company, Gannett Fleming, was chosen from three finalists vying to perform studies to determine the extent of future cleanup, said Charles Utley, the commission chairman.
The contract, he said, was for about $150,000, and the studies should be completed by March.
Gannett Fleming's role, he added, is to evaluate the extent of toxic materials in soil and ground water, which might require additional remediation or cleanup beyond the simple removal of tires and debris.
The environmental assessment, which was to have been completed seven months ago, was put on hold after U.S. Bankruptcy Court approved the sale of the 10.8-acre site to an adjacent landowner, Gerald M. Ballard.
Mr. Ballard later reneged on closing the purchase for fear of liabilities associated with ownership of the site, and the city of Augusta is spearheading efforts to use the federal grant for a site study.
Reach Robert Pavey at (706) 868-1222, Ext. 119.
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