Central office cleanup will cost up to $35K
By Emily Ford
SALISBURY - It probably will cost between $30,000 and $35,000 to clean up gasoline contamination at the proposed downtown site for the Rowan-Salisbury Schools central office, City Council learned Tuesday.
Facilities manager Deb Young said the city has four bids for the soil remediation and hopes to win grant money to help pay for the cleanup.
The state has determined the city, which bought the old gas station in 2007 from Holding Brothers Corp., is not responsible for cleanup and may recoup expenses from a trust fund designated for underground storage tank removal.
In the best case scenario, the previous owner will pay the $20,000 deductible to access funds from the state trust, Young said, and the city will use grant money to pay the balance.
Worst case scenario, the city would have to foot the entire bill, City Manager Doug Paris said.
Tests last month in the 300 block of South Main Street revealed three buried fuel tanks and a small area of contaminated soil from the 1950s or 1960s, when a gas station was at the site.
Depending on the volume of contaminated soil, the cost could be two or three times greater to clean up the site, Young said, adding she expected the cost to remain in the $30,000 to $35,000 range.
The cleanup would total less than 1 percent of the entire $6 million project, she said. The city is donating the land to the Rowan-Salisbury School System for a new central office.
Mayor Paul Woodson said the price for cleanup was surprisingly low.
City Council voted to act immediately on the cleanup effort, in light of ongoing debate over the central office project.
Rowan County commissioners voted Monday to hold a public hearing Dec. 3 on the project, and a growing number of people are calling for the school board to place the facility in the troubled Salisbury Mall, which a New York real estate developer bought last year for $2.5 million.
The soil contamination came up during Monday's county commissioners meeting.
Councilman Brian Miller said he wants to eliminate any objection the county could have to the downtown location.
Contact reporter Emily Ford at 704-797-4264.