It’s fair to say manufacturing became a leading source
of North American economies by the 1800s and that has
continued through today’s modern world, although so
much basic manufacturing is now done elsewhere in the
world where labor is much cheaper.
Due to this long legacy, hundreds, if not thousands,
of good locations for other types of businesses and housing dot almost every state in the country and provinces
in Canada, from big cities to small towns. The trouble
is, the original manufacturers left problems behind, and
to move forward, the residues of these old businesses
need to be scrubbed away.
“Many rural areas are heavily impacted by contamination because corporations sought out regions with
little regulation,” notes Elizabeth Belenchia, SIOR,
CCIM, RICS, and president of Carroll Properties
Corp. in Spartanburg, SC.
Having managed South Carolina’s first U.S.
Assessment Pilot for four
years back in 1996,
Belenchia has a good perspective on what it takes to
make a contaminated site
useful again. In 2000, she
was a speaker at the National
Atlantic City and has participated in working groups for
Even a seemingly benign plant leaves something
behind, she points out, and a case in point was her work
In the small South Carolina town of Cowpens,
Healthtex operated a plant that manufactured baby
clothes. What could possibly be bad about baby clothes?
Well,;the;dyes;and;dry;cleaning;fluids;used;in;the;pro-cess often leaked out of the building, eventually polluting streams on each side of the plant.
“We wrote an EPA pilot grant for Cowpens, but
the town did not have any staff to administer it, so the
EPA made an exception and allowed a private sector
manager, me, to manage the pilot for four years,” she
explains. “In that process, it became one of the most suc-
cessful pilots in the country because the EPA partnered
with 21 federal agencies to address the problems.”
Belenchia adds, “working with agencies in pioneer-
ing technologies and teamwork brought a much stron-
ger positive relationship to add value to future projects.”
program is redevelopment for the local community. The
outgrowth of Belenchia’s work was a 15-year visioning
program for the Cowpens community.
Brownfield;sites;contain;very;serious contamination problems that take a long-time to resolve. Often the
site has to be taken into consideration and this complicates things even further.
When getting into contamination clean-ups, the primary requisite for everyone involved with the process is
patience. These programs go on for a very long time.
Steve Zuber, SIOR, president of the BARBER
Murphy Group in Shiloh, IL, works a niche market in
southern Illinois that seems far from the industrial cities
in the Midwest. Seven years ago his company became
the broker for the former Chemtco Copper Smelting
Plant in the Illinois town of Hartford.
The plant was a secondary smelter. Anything that
had copper products in it would be melted down, copper
extracted and the remaining metals were pushed into a
pile that grew and grew over the 40 years the plant was
in existence – about a million and half tons of heavy
metal. The bad news was this had to be cleaned up.
The good news was that the metals in the slag could be
extracted, re-smelted and used in industrial processes.
BARBER Murphy got involved when Chemtco’s
hired the company to
sell the land and everything on the property
including the slag, which
the situation unique
was that new company,
“When the contracts were agreed to, it was not a
superfund site,” says Zuber. “But, during the seven-year
process, it became enrolled into the superfund program
which brought in the EPA.”
Later this year, Zuber expects to get a consent decree
from the EPA to complete the sale of the property and
the construction of a new facility.
“This has been a long, arduous road,” Zuber says.
“There were a lot of legal problems, from legacy issues
of the prior owners and negligent work done there. In
the bankruptcy a lot of creditors were owed money. Our
success involved getting a lot of people paid, removing
the contamination and hopefully turn a blighted eyesore
into a viable property.”
Zuber recommendations for anyone going through a
•;Identify the problems associated with the site. There
is always a lot of hearsay, but you have to do your
•;Make sure you have a good team, including an environmental consultant and environmental attorney.
•;Create viable solutions in terms of cost, timeline,
various options and creating a feasible plan.
• Government agencies do not move swiftly. Be
Elizabeth Belenchia, SIOR,
Kevin Crowley, SIOR
Sydney Hamber, SIOR
Steve Zuber, SIOR,
PRIMARY REQUISITE FOR
WITH THE PROCESS