Navassa Superfund site redevelopment could bring new jobs, amenities

Navassa Superfund site redevelopment could bring new jobs, amenities
Federal and state officials held a public availability session and public meeting about the Kerr-McGee Chemical Corporation Superfund Site in Navassa on Tuesday.

NAVASSA, NC (WECT) - Community members in Navassa got a first look at what the redeveloped Kerr-McGee Superfund site could look like Tuesday night.

After gaining public input for the past year, the entities involved in redeveloping in the site — the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality (NCDEQ), and the Multistate Trust — held a public meeting to present those plans.

"This past year, the community has worked with our team and with Multistate Trust to come up with different reuse scenarios, and these are the four concepts that have come out of that process," said Erik Spalvins, an EPA project manager for the site. "So these are not necessarily final redevelopment plans, but this is to help us understand how the community wants to use this property so that when we do the cleanup, it's ready to be used."

Common elements to be included are recreational areas, river trails, a water connection to the river, commercial areas, and industrial development.

"There's interest in having jobs and interest in a cultural center that will help communicate the story of this community in the future," said Spalvins.

Spalvins also explained the importance of bringing jobs back to the community with the redevelopment of the site.

"This site was a wood treater and it closed in the 70s," he said. "There were a lot of industries in this community from after the Civil War, up until about the 70s, and a lot of them went out of business. The jobs that were lost as a result of that were never really replaced by a new industry.

"One of the things that we try to do when we redevelop Superfund sites is to listen to the community so we understand, what is it you guys want to have in this location? There's been a lot of interest in jobs, having some sort of commercial activity so this site can back into the local economy and support the community."

Officials also discussed the 2018 strategy for the northern portion of the site. They say it is the easiest part to work on, and they hope to have a cleanup plan by January 2019.

"The contamination in the northern area is mostly shallow soil contamination, so people will see construction happening," Splavins said. "There won't be a lot of disruption to the community. We want to make sure that we're good neighbors as we do the cleanup and we also try to create opportunities for there to be local involvement as we do the cleanup work so there will be an effort to try to use local contractors and local labor."

For more information on the project, click here.

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