CVPS begins Rutland contaminated site cleanup

Central Vermont Public Service will begin to clean up and restore a former gas-production and utility site on Cleveland Avenue in Rutland the week of Sept. 6.

The work will be performed by Maxymillian Technologies of Pittsfield, Mass., with technical oversight from Haley & Aldrich Inc. and CV engineers Beth Eliason and John Greenan. Access to the property will be restricted during remedial activities. Adjoining property owners have been notified by mail.

The property was used to produce gas from coal between 1901, before CVPS existed, and 1947, and later used for operations and equipment storage.

Some locations within the site are affected by low levels of coal tar residuals associated with the former gas manufacturing process and polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) associated with electrical transformer storage and maintenance activities conducted as part of historic site operations.

"We have been working with the state Agency of Natural Resources and Environmental Protection Agency on a remediation plan for several years," CVPS spokesman Steve Costello said. "The site presents minimal risk to the public as is, and the remediation will further reduce that risk."

The remedy will entail removing PCB-impacted soil and concrete, reseeding and adding new plantings along an adjoining stream bank. Some coal tar, a by-product of coal gasification that can be used in soaps, shampoos and ointments to treat psoriasis, will be removed, but some will be left in place and monitored under a plan approved by the state. Necessary approvals have been obtained from the Environmental Protection Agency, the Vermont Agency of Natural Resources and the Rutland Development Review Board.

"The PCB concentrations are low and are bound in soil and concrete," Costello said. "Great care will be taken to remove the materials in a manner that protects the public."

The contamination resulted from historic operational practices of CVPS and predecessor companies that were legal at the time but do not meet modern standards. "We are taking a conservative approach," Costello said. "That's simply the right thing to do."

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