Fort Wayne releases environmental reports on ‘North River’ contamination (documents included)

The impact of former industrial uses of the "North River" site was revealed in studies released today by the city. (File photo by Kevin Leininger of The News-Sentinel)

The city has released the results of a decade-old environmental assessment of the so-called “North River” property City Council bought last week for $4.63 million — not counting the unknown cost of removing industrial pollutants from the 30-acre site just north of downtown.

According to the executive summary prepared in 2007 by the Avant Group, five areas of concern were identified: underground gasoline tanks removed in 1985 without documentation; gas and diesel tanks removed in 1994 and 2000; a former railroad spur area on the southeast portion of the site; and site-wide concerns linked to other industrial uses dating back more than a century. The vacant property was most recently an OmniSource scrap yard.

Some of the concerns appeared to have been appropriately addressed, Avant stated, and did not pose a significant risk. Soil borings and wells in other areas “did not indicate the presence of significant soil and/or groundwater contamination” from the tanks. Petroleum contamination was found in the surface soil of the former rail yard. Other samples detected PCBs and metals “exceeding current regulatory default closure levels for residential and industrial use.”

Industrial areas surrounding the site had also reported spills in the past, the report stated.

In addition, a 2013 report by IWM Consulting Group reported four spills: 25 gallons of transformer oil in 1989; 2,400 gallons of caustic soda into the sewers in 1994; 60 gallons of chromate cleaning solution into a sewer in 1996; and an alleged petroleum spill in 2002.

Because of a previous confidentiality agreement with the property’s owner, Calhoun Investments LLC, results of the tests were not released to the public or members of City Council prior to Tuesday’s vote on approving the city’s purchase of the site. The confidentiality agreement expired after the sale closed last Thursday.

City officials have estimated clean-up could cost several hundreds of thousands of dollars — a cost for which the city will be liable under terms of the sale. Officials hope to recoup some or all of that cost through development of the site, and have said future uses of the property will determine the degree to which remediation will be necessary.

As The News-Sentinel reported last week, IU Health representatives spoke with council members prior to the vote, expressing interest in the North River property.

PHASE ONE ENVIRONMENTAL ASSESSMENT

SAMPLING AND ANALYSIS REPORT

GROUNDWATER INVESTIGATION REPORT

TEST PIT SOIL SAMPLING ANALYSIS REPORT

(Due to the length of this document, it has been broken up into four parts)

PART 1

PART 2

PART 3

PART 4

COMMENTS