Work on once contaminated site sparks meeting

Commerce – Recent activity at a former Hi-Yield chemical site in Commerce prompts a meeting between concerned citizens and officials.

Approximately ten residents attended a public meeting last week, where representatives from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Volunteer Purchasing Groups, Inc. (VPG), and ENSAFE presented information regarding the onsite maintenance.

The business, located along Sycamore St. and northeast of the railroad tracks, closed in 1972. While in operation, the site was used to distribute insecticides and cotton defoliants, and manufacture arsenic acid.

Following the plant's closing, arsenic and pesticide contamination was detected both on and off the Hi-Yield site, including additional residential lots. In 1995, The EPA approved the removal of the contaminated soil, where it was buried at the site and capped with an engineered cover.

Crews are now working to prevent future reoccurrences onsite, as just last year, during routine maintenance; VPG noticed a seep from the cracks in the asphalt cover around the warehouse onsite.

The source of the release was identified and immediately remediated, and following testing, it was found the surfaces impacted were onsite only, not offsite.

Among the work scheduled, which is to culminate next month, is the laying of new soil on the site, which will then be capped, followed by the planting of grass and vegetation. Annual monitoring of the site will continue.

Some citizens during last week's meeting expressed desire to have their properties retested; however recent tests by the EPA have already confirmed no contaminants left the site.