BURLINGTON - Construction was set to begin last week to permanently separate the Moran building from Lake Champlain. Moran was constructed with intake and outflow "sluiceways" (flumes) that allowed water from Lake Champlain to enter and exit the building as part of the cooling process for the former power plant.
When the plant was decommissioned in 1986, the sluiceway gates were left open and the sump pumps were removed. Since the basement floor elevation is exactly the same as the average lake level, water fills the basement for much of the year. The work to begin this week will dam up the sluiceway openings, so the basement can be pumped out and kept dry.
CEDO Director Larry Kupferman noted that this work is noteworthy because it represents the first visible progress on the structure itself.
"We need to get the water out of the building, and clean-up the inside, as first steps towards the redevelopment of the Moran site," he said.
Kupferman noted that concrete cores taken earlier this year from the basement showed the concrete to be structurally sound, in spite of the water infiltration. Kupferman also noted that CEDO is working cooperatively with the Department of Environmental Conservation to monitor the construction work, and the City has secured permits from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the Burlington Department of Public Works for the construction.
The work will be paid for with federal EPA funds secured through the Chittenden County Regional Planning Commission's Brownfield's Initiative. CEDO applied to CCRPC to fund a variety of environmental assessment activities at Moran, including the sluiceway dam construction.
Julie Potter, a Senior Planner with the CCRPC in charge of the Brownfields Initiative said, "We are happy to participate in this phase of the Moran project. This is exactly the kind of project we had hoped to fund when we applied for federal Brownfields monies.