$10 million cleanup set at sites of former Nebraska cleaners
The cleanup process could take a year before it even begins, and the costs could reach as high as $10 million for properties in Columbus, NE, that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency believes contributed to a localized groundwater contamination decades ago.
The bulk of the properties are three nearby former drycleaning locations believed to be the original source of chemicals that penetrated the soil and groundwater. The contamination plume was first identified by state officials in 1983 before clean-up was handed over to the EPA. The 10th Street Superfund site was added to the National Priorities List in August 1990.
The former drycleaning properties targeted for acquisition prior to the cleanup process include: Liberty Cleaners at 1061 25th. Ave., One-Hour Cleaners Martinizing at 2262 25th Ave. and Jackson Cleaners at 960 24th Ave.
Each of the drycleaners who have been blamed for the toxic spills have already paid a settlement to the EPA.
A fourth nearby location, formerly Ron’s Furniture at 1029 25th Ave., will have to be purchased, as well.
To pay for the estimated $10 million endeavor, the Columbus City Council has approved a plan that will rely on 90 percent financing by the EPA and 10 percent by the Nebraska Department of Environmental Quality.
The funding is expected to be available within in months to move forward on the project, beginning with the negotiation of property acquisitions and the relocation of current tenants.
Currently, Prestige Dry Cleaners operates out of the building that once housed One-Hour Martinizing while Top Score Games utilizes a portion of the building that was once inhabited by Jackson Cleaners.
Once purchased, buildings on all four locations will have to be demolished before the process to excavate the soil underneath them can begin.
According to Nancy Swyers, remedial project manager for the EPA, there is no timeline in place when the acquisitions will be completed, but the process could take as long as a year.
Once it does, no nearby houses are expected to be demolished, though the remediation may affect various roadways and portions of other properties, such as fenced yards in the area.
When the cleanup finishes, the state will assume ownership of the purchased properties. An extraction system that protects the city’s drinking water supply will continue to be operated.
MCA plans “Lunch and Learn” Oct. 10
The Minnesota Cleaners Association will kick off a free “Lunch and Learn” program this Fall that offers member cleaners a chance to eat and socialize as well as learn more about an industry-related topic in a roundtable format.
The first event is slated to take place on Thursday, Oct. 10 at Culvers Sunray in St. Paul, MN, located at 2065 Old Hudson Rd. The program will begin at noon with a complimentary lunch and is expected to run until about 1:30 p.m., although no official time limit has been set.
During the inaugural event, guest speaker Brad Dillon will discuss boilers. Cleaners will have time to discuss other topics.
MCA officers and board members will attend, also.
The initial “Lunch and Learn” program is for MCA members only. For more information, visit MCA’s site online at www.minnesotadrycleaners.org.