CSX continuing work at rail yard
Portions of the old B & O rail line behind the Berkeley Springs train depot have recently been uncovered and removed as part of an environmental cleanup project by CSX Transportation, Inc. and the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection (DEP).
DEP Project Manager Patty Hickman said soil and old railroad ties in that spot tested positive for unacceptable levels of arsenic, and are being carted away to approved disposal facilities.
Hickman said the arsenic could have come from chemicals used to preserved timber ties, or from pesticides and herbicides transported into town for the orchard industry during the last century.
CSX is conducting the testing and removal on the 3.37-
acre parcel on Williams Street as part of a voluntary partnership with the DEP's Office of Environmental remediation, which began in September 2006.
The railroad company wants soils to meet standards that would allow the lot to be used for any purpose, which could include residential uses, said Hickman. Those environmental standards are more rigorous that those for land designated for commercial or light industrial use.
Hickman said CSX has employed AMEC Earth & Environmental of Knoxville, Tenn. to oversee the entire soil testing process in conjunction with the state. Clean Earth of Hagerstown, Md. will handle the disposal of the arsenic-contaminated soil, said Hickman.
County still wants lot
Prior to starting the environmental work, CSX had been involved in negotiations to sell the land to the Morgan County Commission and a Pennsylvania developer who proposed building a low-income senior citizen's apartment building and a new county senior center.
According to County Administrator Bill Clark, the county still wants to pursue those plans for a senior citizens' facility once the CSX lot is given the environmental green light.
Clark said the county also intends to work with the Town of Bath on future uses of the lot. The CSX property backs up to the old B & O depot, which is owned by the town and is currently vacant.
Further testing of the northern end of the old rail and wood lot is ongoing, and will continue through 2008, Hickman said.
Documents pertaining to the cleanup, test results and other project information are available for public review at the Morgan County Commission/Economic Development office in the courthouse complex during business hours.