For more than a decade, the former site of the Ithaca Gun Factory has monopolized valuable real estate on Lake Street in the city of Ithaca, New York. While the rest of the town welcomed new businesses and residents, the area surrounding the brownfield remained stagnant.
Now, the Ithaca Journal reports that preparations have begun to remove lead-contaminated soil from the property. Remediation efforts will have to reach down to the bedrock, as future plans for the site include residential use.
Plans include 45 townhouse units on the site in addition to a public park, to be knows as the Ithaca Falls Overlook Site.
The site features steep grounds that funneled the lead contamination downhill towards a narrow gorge. These steep slopes were not addressed during an emergency clean-up performed by the Environmental Protection Agency from 2002-2004.
The soil must pass the 400 parts per million standard for lead contamination, and will not be able to support gardening in the future, according to Nels Bohn, director of community development for the Ithaca Urban Renewal Agency.
"We're very anxious and supportive of the developer moving the next phase to complete their remediation of this entire site and actually start developing some housing on this site and converting what was clearly a detriment to the community to an asset," Bohn told the Ithaca Journal.
The project is expected to cost approximately $400,000, with the EPA supporting half of the cost, and the New York Department of Environmental Conservation and the City of Ithaca managing the balance.
Environmental consultants can help community officials and property owners develop the most cost-effective strategy to return contaminated land to usable condition.