Westberg Property Public Hearing – 1/26/17

TOWN OF WALPOLE

PUBLIC HEARING

JANUARY 26, 2017

 

Selectboard Present:     Steven Dalessio (Chair); Peggy Pschirrer; Whitney Aldrich

Others Present:             Steven Rickerich, Cheryl Mayberry, Ray Boas, Raynie Laware, Karen Crowley; Sarah Downing, Regina Borden

 

Call To Order Mr. Dalessio called this Public Hearing to order at 6:00 PM in the Walpole Town Hall.  He announced this Public Hearing was advertised and duly posted that “The Walpole Selectboard will be holding a Public Hearing Regarding the Donation of Map 20, Lots 65 and 66 from the Estate of Nils Westberg (former site of Central Plating) to the Town of Walpole at 6:00 pm at the Walpole Town Hall”

Mr. Dalessio introduced Steven Rickerich of Ransom Environment, Consulting Engineers and Scientists, who will be doing the testing. Mr. Rickerich displayed a large map of the area and distributed smaller copies.  He explained the lay-out of the area.

Mrs. Pschirrer advised that in 2002 the Town of Walpole adopted “RSA 41:14-a” which enables the Town to accept this property provided they hold meetings with both the Conservation Commission and Planning Board to get their approval and the Selectboard has done this.  This is the first of two Public Hearings the Selectboard will hold.  This offer came to the Town from the Westberg Estate. They would be happy to give it to the Town for $1.00.  This would enable them to close the Estate.  This is a “Brownfields” property because of the past contamination.  There is a Town easement into the property (driveway beside the former Murray’s Restaurant). Leaning House LLC has an agreement for a right-of-way in another area of Town property.

On January 3rd, 2017, the Southwest Regional Planning Commission (SWRPC) held a Brownfields meeting in which they agreed to accept this project. They hired Mr. Rickerich to continue doing the research that actually was started a few years ago but then discontinued.

Mr. Rickerich is a professional geologist.  Sanborn had done Phase I and did some work on Phase II.  There concerns were identified at that time and reported to the Department of Environmental Services (DES).  They identified a chromium problem about 13-to-15 feet below grade and also discovered there was nickel on the property.  The nickel area is small about 10 feet.  There were some petroleum contaminants. There was a wastewater pre-treatment facility and from there it went to the Town’s sewer line. It appears to be migrating a little off-site.  There is a groundwater problem. The DES asked for more detailed work but that is when the project ceased.  The soils are sand and then they get into a clay soil.  The water table is above the clay.  The chromium does not appear to be sinking.  They will do borings in different locations.  The sumps are still in the ground and need to be cleaned out.  The Central Plating building is now gone.  They are going to do an investigation and prepare a Remedial Action Plan.  Different options will be considered.  In this case it is mostly dig it up, haul it off and dispose of it. After that is done the Town will have a choice as to whether they want to proceed or not.  He would not recommend the Town take the property over until the State has reviewed and approved the Ransom Environment work.  The DES will over-see it.  They will look at the cost for continued groundwater monitoring.  Approval from the DES will be by letter.

Residential Lot 63 on the plan is the Walpole Foundation property.  Ransom Environment would also need to get permission from them to do some of their work.  The types of contaminants in the groundwater will not affect their building.

Mr. Rickerich mentioned they will be looking for a suite of PFCs (hydrophobic) contaminants that became regulated over the past summer.

There is an opportunity to seek additional funding through the EPA.  There is a Clean-Up Grant and the Town can get up to $200,000 for each of the two sites.  The Town will need these grants and will apply with the assistance of the SWRPC.  Mrs. Pschirrer asked if the sewer lines will be capped off.  Mr. Rickerich replied that is a good question because those lines are not being used any more.  Mrs. Pschirrer questioned after the work is done how do they get the approval of the State and Federal Government?  Mr. Rickerich said that grants are not guaranteed.  They usually fund clean-up grants; if they are not approved the first time, the Town could apply again.  Mrs. Pschirrer noted this is right in the middle of the downtown business area.  There is an economical reason why they need the parking lot.  Mr. Rickerich felt a parking lot is good but if it is a part of a development that would help toward receiving a favorable grant review.

Ms. Karen Crowley, Walpole Foundation, asked what the time line will be.  Mr. Rickerich replied at the SWRPC January 3rd meeting, they got approval to move forward.  They will now do a Site Specific Quality Improvement Plan; it lays out their Scope of Work.  This will now get run by the DES and they will respond with their comments.  After that Ransom has 30 days to review it.  They would start their work probably in March after the snow is gone and generate a report in 4-to-6 weeks.  They expect to be done in July.  That will go to the State and they have a month or two to provide comments.  It could be the end of summer or early fall.  There is another step the Town will have to do, a Phase I, an Environmental Site Assessment.  It would protect the Town from the Federal Government going after the Town.  Phase 1 has to be done within a six month period which is the shelf-life of the Phase.  Ransom Environment will do Phase 1 again before the Town acquires the property.  DES was okay with them doing Phase II now.  It is always possible they will find something Sanborn missed but he is confident of their work.  Mrs. Pschirrer said after that is done the grant period begins in October.  Mr. Rickerich noted they cannot apply for the grants unless they are the owner.  An announcement on the recipients of the grants might not happen until April 2018. In July, Rasom will start the Phase I process. The Selectboard should be conducting some out-reach to get support for the donation from community organizations.

There being no other public comments, Mr. Dalessio closed this Public Hearing at 6:38 PM.

 

Respectfully submitted,

Regina Borden, Recording Secretary

 

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