Originally created 02/28/03

Site gets OK for redevelopment



A groundwater study at the defunct Goldberg Brothers junkyard off Dan Bowles Road yielded surprisingly few contaminants, according to engineers who gave the site a clean bill of health for future redevelopment.

"We didn't find anything alarming at all," said Tom Clark, an engineer with Gannett Fleming Inc., which conducted the study.

Contractors hired by Georgia's Environmental Protection Division are in the final stages of removing hundreds of tons of tires, metal and soil from the site, which was contaminated with lead, mercury and PCBs.

The surface cleanup, costing about $7 million, is one of the most expensive undertaken with state Superfund dollars. The state was stuck with the bill for the cleanup after the site's former owners declared bankruptcy.

Augusta's Brownfields Commission secured a federal grant to pay for studies of groundwater beneath the 10.8-acre parcel to determine whether additional cleanup was necessary before the land could be redeveloped.

Mr. Clark, who presented the study's findings to the commission Thursday, said 12 wells were used to collect water from depths of 11 feet to 39 feet.

Although a trace of antimony - a metal used in batteries - was found, there were no elevated levels of lead, PCBs, mercury and other toxic materials found on the surface, he said.

Brownfields Commission member Hameed Malik, an engineer, said the absence of contamination makes the site more marketable to redevelopment efforts that could improve nearby neighborhoods such as Hyde Park.

Reach Robert Pavey at (706) 868-1222, ext. 119, or rpavey@augustachronicle.com.