Memo from Town Manager Roger L. Stancil to Mayor and Council

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Oct. 22, 2013

As part of the asset management initiative of the Town, we recently conducted a property assessment of the police building, which is one of several Town owned properties that the Council is considering for potential sale. Based on previous knowledge of the site, we engaged Falcon Engineering to provide due diligence environmental services to qualify this property for potential redevelopment activities.

The assessment identified an old coal ash disposal site located off Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard north of Bolin Creek adjacent to the Chapel Hill Police building. Soil boring tests found the materials 15 feet underground on the southern edge of the property. The environmental assessment shows that the materials that were disposed here should not pose a health issue. However, the material – fly ash – is an environmental pollutant. We provided the assessment report to the NC Department of Environment and Natural Resources (NC DENR) on Friday, October 18, and posted the information at http://www.townofchapelhill.org/index.aspx?page=2311  

The report states that the property appears to have been used as a borrow pit from which construction material such as sand or gravel is taken for use as fill at another location in the late 1950s through the early 1960s, then as a fill site or dumping site from the mid-1960s to mid-1970s. The Town acquired the 10-acre property at 828 Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd. and constructed the police building in the early 1980s.

We are looking to the expertise from NC DENR to help us move forward with an action plan. The Town may be responsible for steps to contain and remediate the conditions. Those required steps have not yet been determined, but we will take all necessary steps to maintain our clean and green environment.

Upon receiving this initial report, we extended our contract with Falcon Engineering to include working with the Town as a site consultant. This is the beginning of a long process, and we recognize that we don’t have all the facts yet. We will follow the direction of NC DENR and will provide more information as it becomes available on further action and next steps.
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