ARRA: Corps of Engineers removes toxins from soil near Virginia lake
June 17, 2010
- Wilmington District manages project with expertise from Omaha District.
- Four areas were decontaminated of dioxin, DDT, fuel and lead.
- A building was demolished, and the debris, other building materials and soil were removed from the site and replaced with clean fill.
<b>BOYDTON, Va.</b> - Lands around the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers John H. Kerr Lake, near Boydton and Clarksville, Va., are now cleaner and safer, thanks to the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act .
"We have been wanting to clean up these areas for some time," said Bill Bond, who is land use manager for the USACE Wilmington District's lake projects. "ARRA made it possible for us to do the job."
The project, which cost more than a million dollars, cleaned up four contaminated areas. Inside a fenced maintenance area, lumber for construction at the lake had been treated in a shed with chemicals including dioxin, and the insecticide DDT was mixed for use in the days before its dangers were known.
The third site, an abandoned rail spur, had contamination from fuel and transportation of DDT. Finally, a former youth camp near Clarksville, Va., had lead contamination from ammunition used at a firing range.
"These areas needed to be cleaned up, for the safety of our workers and the public, to make the space available for other needs in the future, and to carry out our responsibilities to be good stewards of our federal lands," Bond said.
Once the rail spur area is cleaned up, the land will be available for possible use as part of a "Rails to Trails" program popular with cyclists and hikers throughout Virginia.
The Corps' Omaha District, a center of expertise for environmental cleanup actions, worked with the Wilmington District on the project. Contractors specializing in environmental restoration removed the abandoned rail spur, the structure and fencing, and excavated the contaminated soil around them. The soil and concrete foundations and other materials, including plastic pipe systems, were hauled away to be destroyed under proper conditions.
In all, the contractors removed about 900 tons of contaminated soil, and are restoring the areas with clean fill. After the excavation, contractors field tested the area. Preliminary findings showed a successful reduction of contaminants, to levels that would meet standards for residential use. The field tests were followed up by sampling and lab tests to confirm those findings.