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CURRENT STORIES


Zinc plant cleanup progresses

by Darlene J. Taylor

STAFF WRITER

SPELTER -- DuPont is nearing completion of the demolition phase of a $15 million voluntary remediation project at the former Spelter Zinc plant.

Sathya V. Yalvagi, project manager with DuPont Engineering, said a community meeting in January will lay out the next phase of the project, which is to begin in the spring.

"It will be a two-year project consolidating the piling from 112 acres to 45 acres. We will cap it and maintain it. It will be capped with a synthetic liner, covered with 18 inches of soil and vegetation consistent with the local setting," Yalvagi said.

Workers at the site were recognized Wednesday for completing the demolition ahead of schedule, with no injuries.

Mary Glowacki, DuPont safety manager, said various companies worked together on the project, for a total of 22,000 safe work hours.

"I ensure compliance at the regulatory standpoint. That is attained by many means. The reality is all injuries are preventable," said Glowacki.

The Department of Environmental Protection Office of Remediation continually inspects the site and upon completion will issue the state certificate of compliance.

David Hight, project manager with the DEP Remediation Office, said this is the largest remediation site in the state.

"We have over 100 sites from gas stations to industrial facilities and this is the largest demolition by far. We will be inspecting and monitoring ground and surface water as long as necessary," said Hight.

The first phase included demolition of 34 buildings, a 200-foot tall stack and a 100-foot water tower as well as recycling 3,000 tons of steel with no environmental releases.

DuPont has worked with local companies, including Meadowbrook Fab, Goldizen of Bridgeport, Burns Security, Hepzibah Public Service District, Potesta Environmental, MEC, Fazio Fuel and R&J Trucking.

Yalvagi said when the project is complete, there will be 30-40 acres available for redevelopment.

"We are working with the Redevelopment Authority, Landmark Commission and Division of Culture and History. We hope the building will be eligible for National Preservation. DuPont wants to make part of the building a museum," said Ron Potesta, environmental consultant to DuPont.

Excavator operator Craig Heater of Jane Lew and Timmy Carr, an operator with Goldizen, said they had no idea about the scope of the project when they arrived.

"It was a good job and turned out great for everybody concerned," Heater said.

"When we first got here, everything was new to us. Now, we want to stay," added Carr.

Hight said DuPont has been very cooperative and has done a good job addressing citizens' concerns.

"I encourage the public to contact me at the DEP if they have any questions," Hight said.

Anyone who would like to donate items for the museum are welcome to visit the site during working hours.

Staff writer Darlene J. Taylor can be reached at 626-1403 or by e-mail at dtaylor@exponent-telegram.com.